REC is one of the top players in the global solar industry due to the fact that they are the most integrated solar energy producer around. This means they are involved and have control in every aspect of the manufacturer of the silicone that goes in to their solar panels. Here is a brief explanation of the process:-
In order to get solar grade silicone, REC starts with 98% silicone from the mines and distills it in to Silane gas which is then solidified in to 100% silicone. This is in the form of a large bar or ‘ingot.’
The silicone ingots are then sliced in to very thin wafers and are chemically treated. After this process, electrical contacts are fitted and the solar cells are ready to be placed in to a solar panel.
REC is constantly researching and developing more energy efficient ways to manufacturer better quality silicone. The common way is the Siemens method where rods called silicone seed rods are super-heated to form silicone. The temperature used in the Siemens process results in a large amount of energy used compared to silicone manufactured ratio.
REC developed the Fluidized Bed Reactor or FBR where silicone beads are grown in a temperature controlled environment. The FBR process is more efficient because the beads grown have a larger surface area than the rods grown by the Siemens process. This all adds up to a purer more efficient silicone.