Dow Corning has started construction of a high-purity monosilane gas manufacturing plant in Thomas Township, MI. The factory, located adjacent to Hemlock Semiconductor’s polysilicon production facility, is expected to be completed in 2011.
Monosilane is a key specialty material used in the production of certain thin-film photovoltaic devices as well as liquid crystal displays. The company says the new facility represents an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and will initially employ about 30 workers.
“This significant investment to become a leading supplier of monosilane for thin-film solar technology will expand our feedstock offering and will further reinforce Dow Corning’s position as a material supplier across multiple solar technologies,” said Eric Peeters, global executive director, Dow Corning Solar Solutions.
Dow Corning also unveiled an installation of 136 PV panels at the Solar Discovery Center at its corporate headquarters in Midland, MI.
In addition to providing 30KW-hours of clean energy to the electrical grid, the installation serves as a testing ground for the company’s silicone encapsulation solution. Half of the solar panels in the installation are encapsulated with its advanced silicone encapsulation solution to compare and test in real-life conditions, with the other half encapsulated using standard technology.