After an intensive 17-month search that focused on over 100 possible sites in 16 countries, REC Silicon executives chose Québec and, more specifically, Bécancour as the site of its new polysilicon plant that will produce the principal raw material used to manufacture semiconductors and solar panels starting in 2012. The site will be developed in stages and could potentially hold four production units. The company claims they chose the location because of the availability of raw materials, the industrial park's top-notch infrastructure, and the quality of the labor force.
Given the scope of the project's economic spinoff and structuring effects, the Québec government has agreed to grant the company a block of up to 95 megawatts of electricity at the general rate for large power (rate L) regulated by the Régie de l'énergie for a period of 20 years. This measure significantly influenced REC Silicon's decision to locate in Québec. Emploi-Québec is also supporting REC Silicon by offering a $4 million nonrefundable contribution, equivalent to 25 percent of training costs, for a period of three years. The agreement further assumes that total investments will exceed $1.2 billion and that the total number of employees will exceed 300.
REC Silicon is the world's third-largest producer of polysilicon and the biggest producer for the solar energy market. The company employs approximately 700 people and operates two plants in the United States, one in Montana and the other in Washington.