REC May Resume Norway Wafer, Cell Output in October, CEO Says
Renewable Energy Corp. ASA expects production at its Norwegian solar wafer and cell plants to restart in October as demand improves and prices rebound, Chief Executive Officer Ole Enger said.
The Sandvika, Norway-based company yesterday announced it was halting production at its Heroeya and Narvik plants in Norway because of “plunging” prices for solar wafer and cells in the last few weeks, caused by “total closure of the Italian market,” Enger said today in an interview in Oslo.
“I can’t see anything that can stop us from developing a competitive position” in Norwegian production, Enger said, whose company yesterday announced it will lay off 500 workers in July. “We hope the market will recover earlier, so we can restart earlier.”
The price of solar cells, the main component of photovoltaic panels, dropped in May as supply hit the market and demand was curbed by European cuts to solar subsidies, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. Monocrystalline cell prices slumped 7.5 percent to $1.14 per watt from the previous month and multicrystalline cells were down 8.7 percent at $1.09 per watt, according to a report by Martin Simonek, an analyst at the London-based research company.
Italy in March announced it would bring in new rules for the solar market, reducing subsidies that were to be in place until 2013 and the country this month passed a law which will progressively lower subsidies through the end of next year. The Italian market became the second-largest in Europe following Germany last year after the government offered the highest feed- in tariffs in the region.
“We do see demand picking up quite considerably now,” Enger said on the Italian market. “We expect that to continue in the next weeks and months.”
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