RENEWABLE ENERGY CORPORATIONEnergy Solutions for the 21st Century
Founded in Norway in 1996, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) is a leading vertically integrated solar energy company. REC produces polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules for the solar industry, and silicon materials for the electronics industry. REC also engages in project development in selected PV segments.
REC employs more than 3,200 people worldwide and has production facilities in the United States and Singapore. In 2011, REC recorded revenue of about S$3.0 billion (US$2.4 billion) and continues to play a leading role in shaping the future of the solar energy industry.
Seeking a location to enhance its position in the industry, REC chose Singapore out of over 200 sites to install the world’s largest fully-integrated solar manufacturing facility. Built at a cost of S$2.5 billion (US$1.95 billion), the facility is the largest single investment ever made by REC and the third largest foreign green field investment ever made by a Norwegian company. The solar modules produced at REC’s Tuas South plant for 2011 will offset 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions throughout its lifetime, producing enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of 150,000 Singaporean households.
The project was not without challenges. A few months into the construction of the REC facility, the project was hit by the 2007 financial crisis. Despite this setback, the project pulled through with support from shareholders, banks and the Singapore government. REC managed to complete the first phase of construction at 20 per cent below the initial budget and estimates. It has also introduced new capacity targets — initial volumes of 590 MW for modules will be increased to 750 MW in 2012, a 35 per cent increase compared to the original design capacity. When in full operation, the facility is expected to produce 190,000 solar modules per month, which will be exported worldwide.
"We believe that in a relatively short time, the cost of solar energy will be comparable to that of conventional energy sources as adoption rate increases. We see Singapore as an ideal spot for REC to bridge into Asia, which we believe will be an attractive market for solar in the long-term," said REC CEO & President Ole Enger.
THE WAY FORWARD
Manufacturing solar wafers, cells and modules has many parallels with semiconductor and electronics manufacturing processes. Singapore’s position as a major semiconductor hub, coupled with all-round capabilities from the precision engineering and chemicals industries, provides companies with a head-start in the solar industry.
The Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO), formerly known as Clean Energy Programme Office (CEPO), is Singapore’s key inter-agency workgroup responsible for planning and executing strategies to develop the energy sector in Singapore. Since its inception in 2007, EIPO has launched several key initiatives, including the establishment of public sector R&D centres, competitive funding and talent development programmes.
Dedicated with S$195 million from the National Research Foundation, EIPO is led by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA). EIPO reports to an executive committee co-chaired by EDB's Chairman and Ministry of Trade and Industry's Permanent Secretary.
About Renewable Energy Corporation