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Looking forward to starting full production with 30 new colleagues in Rec Solar's factory at Herøya

to men dressed in working clothes and caps

Even Vik and colleague Rune Holtren are looking forward to running full production in REC Solar's factory on Herøya together with 30 new employees.

This week, the first of about 30 new employees started working in the Rec Solar factory.

New and former colleagues are now filling up the factory halls and offices.

"Now we are focusing on getting up to full production pace from January," says factory manager David Verdú in Rec Solar at Herøya, satisfied. "We will produce as fast as possible and as much as possible. There is great interest in our silicon blocks from Herøya, from the French market, and now also the South Korean market."

Since Verdú announced the good news in September about a new large three-year contract for silicon blocks for the construction of solar panels in South Korea, about 30 professional operators and engineers have gotten jobs and already started up in the solar factory at Herøya.

Very good candidates

Verdú says that the interest was overwhelming. The first applications ticked in immediately after the article in one of the local newspapers was published.

man sitting in a chair drinking coffee in a blue jumper

David Verdu, factory manager at Rec Solar

"We have received more than 155 applicants for the 30 or so professional jobs we need to fill. There are very many good candidates, all with very good skills. About half of the applicants were former REC employees. There will be a good mix of young and experienced people in the factory. Several new skilled graduates with a trade certificate have been offered a job, based on previous positive experience."

Great that people want to return

"It is great that people who have been here before, and who have experienced ups and downs here, want to come back even if they have jobs elsewhere," Verdú thinks.

"Why do you think they want to return?"

"There has always been a good working environment here, but there is probably more to it than that, Verdú believes. "I think that people experience the job as meaningful. We have a product and a process that is unique, and which is not so easy to copy. The product has a 96 percent lower CO2 footprint than all others. My theory is that it makes sense. At least that's why I'm here."

Participate in building new industry

"This is an extreme sport, and has a new dimension, worth fighting for," Verdú believes.

"Many are concerned about where they work, and what they can achieve. Many who have been here before have a staying power, and think "we can do this". What is demanding with all the new industry now, such as hydrogen and battery materials, is that there will be high prices in the beginning. "Some big factories in China are pushing prices down, and technology development will be very demanding and rapid," says Verdú.

two men in factrory hall pushing trolleys

New employees from left Jørgen Nystrand and Andreas Riek.

New product for even more efficient solar cells

"We will not start the same production as last time," says Verdú. "We are now replacing the production of multi crystalline with mono crystalline silicon blocks."

"The whole world has replaced multi with mono," the factory manager points out. "And the main reason is that mono crystalline blocks provide more efficient solar cells, it has always been that way. Now the costs of producing mono panels have also fallen sharply," he explains. "We will continue to produce silicon blocks from raw materials we get from the factory in Kristiansand, but now we will also refine the raw material so that it is suitable for the mono crystalline process."

Uses Herøya to enter a new value chain

Verdú and the team at Rec Solar work to develop both the product and the process for entering the mono product value chain.

"We came to the conclusion that, yes, we can use the factory at Herøya. We can do it quite cost efficient by making what we could call an extra purifying step, and by reusing the same equipment already here."

monocrystalline silsium blocks ready to ship

monocrystalline silsium blocks, REC Solars new product, produced at Herøya.

Devolopment in sharp competition

"We are constantly evolving, and the competition is sky high. It is mostly China that has the entire value chain. The price of the product we made earlier fell 98 percent in ten years. What you got $ 400 for then, you get $ 8 for now. The Chinese beat us on price, but they fail to take us on the carbon footprint."

Pays for lower COfootprint

"How do you think prices will develop for the new mono product in the future?"

"I'm optimistic. We get almost three times as much for the product we now will deliver from Herøya, compared to the previous product. Part of the explanation  is our low CO2 footprint, which is the world's lowest at the moment. Everyone talks about low COfootprint, but so far few have wanted to pay for it, except France and now South Korea. They now pay for a low CO2 footprint in contracts we have received in these markets," says David Verdú proudly.

France and South Korea the only contries in the world

"France was the first and only country to set requirements for CO2 footprints in public procurement, with a weighting of 70 per cent on price and 30 per cent on climate in construction projects," he explains. "South Korea followed this summer, as the second country in the world. This has gone very fast. And as a result, we got this three-year contract to deliver to the South Korean market."

Hope that Norway follows too

We hope that the rest of the EU follows France and commits itself to the New Green Deal, and not least I hope that Norway will do the same, says Verdú.

- I think Norway should set a good example, not on screws and nuts, but on the major construction projects in the future. It will mean a lot, not only to us in the solar cell industry, but to the whole of Europe and the industry's opportunities for development. European industry is dependent on finding customers who pay for a low climate footprint, Verdú points out.

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