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Chinese Borg absorbs last surviving independent European solar manufacturer

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REC Solar acquired by a Chinese Solar Company

The European Solar producers used to dominate the solar industry in 2008, as the German EEG subsidies started a solar boom. However, the Chinese manufacturers slowly and inexorably gained marketshare from others through strong backing by the Chinese government and their low cost advantage. The European companies managed to survive till 2010-11, as global demand expanded faster than capacity. However, the Lehman crisis had already led to a deterioration in their balance sheet sizes. So when the second solar down cycle occurred in 2012, most of the European solar companies folded up one by one. Q-Cells, Juwi and thousands of firms went bankrupt or were bought by other companies. Big German giants such as Bosch, Siemens and others exited the business unable to compete with the low cost and large scale advantage of the Chinese companies. Many were bought by Chinese companies such as LDK Solar and Shungfeng. Only a couple of big manufacturers survived. Solarworld got a bailout from the Qataris, while REC restructured successfully into two firms. While REC Silicon housed the polysilicon and silence gas parts, REC Solar housed the solar wafer to panel manufacturing.

Now REC Solar which was showing signs of resurgence with a large deal with SolarCity, has been bought by a Chinese company. Poly producer Elkem which is owned by Chinese company Bluestar, is going to acquire REC Silicon for $640 million. REC Solar has got a 1 GW integrated manufacturing facility based out of Singapore, which it is expanding to 1.3 GW. REC Solar is the last independent large European solar entity and now it is too Chinese.

With this acquisition, only some major USA manufacturers such as First Solar and SunPower are left apart from the Chinese. All others have been absorbed or killed by the Chinese solar industry. Similar to Borg in Star Wars. You either kill them or absorb them.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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