Violet Power still committed to Moses Lake production

MOSES LAKE – Despite ending its relationship with REC Silicon, Oregon-based solar energy startup Violet Power expects to begin production in Moses Lake this year.

“The termination of the alliance with REC will in no way affect Violet Power’s plans or progress in expanding its manufacturing capacity at Moses Lake,” said Desari Strader, CEO of Violet Power, in a press release released late last week .

Jointly announced in September 2020, Violet Power would secure polysilicon for the manufacture of solar modules from REC’s currently closed manufacturing facility in Moses Lake and land from Massachusetts-based biofuel start-up Xyleco at its facility at 3741 Road N NE on the Across the street rent from REC.

However, Violet Power later announced that it was planning to build its own manufacturing facility in the port of Moses Lake.

Violet Power remains committed to Moses Lake, according to Strader. Solar panels and modules manufactured by Violet Power are expected to hit the US market in late 2021.

“As Violet Power announced in September 2020, the first cell and module line with 1.4 gigawatts will reach full capacity by 2022 at our Moses Lake facility,” she said in the press release.

Solar grade silicon is produced in a reactor with a catalyst and lots of electricity. It is then made into bricks, which are cut into very thin wafers and made into modules that can generate electricity from sunlight. These modules are then combined into solar modules.

While the technology was pioneered in the US, now more than 90% of the world’s modules and panels are made in China, and companies are striving to set up US production lines to make the US less dependent on Chinese-made solar power.

REC was one of the most cost-effective manufacturers of polysilicon for solar modules in the world. However, in a trade dispute over tariffs on solar panels from 2013 onwards, the Chinese imposed high tariffs on US-made polysilicon, effectively excluding REC from the Chinese market and ultimately forcing the company to cease production at Moses Lake.

Xyleco has also put its Moses Lake facility up for sale. According to the Remax Commercial website, the 163-acre, 612,000-square-foot building is valued at $ 37 million and the sale is reported as “pending.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at [email protected]