After a long site search and much speculation concerning the timing of its latest polysilicon expansion plans, Hemlock Semiconductor has announced plans to invest approximately US$3 billion in the coming years to significantly expand polysilicon production. The new plans include expansion of production at its Hemlock, Michigan facility (US$1 billion) as well as the construction of a new US$1.2 billion polysilicon plant based in Clarksville, Tennessee at a new Greenfield site. Both projects will start immediately.
“This announcement offers solar industry leaders confidence that polysilicon supply will be available as the solar and electronics industries continue to grow and innovate,” said Rick Doornbos, president and CEO of Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation. “The exact scale of this investment will be determined by market conditions. Making this investment in today’s volatile economic climate is a testament to both the long-term outlook of the solar industry, as well as Hemlock Semiconductor’s ability to add capacity to meet the needs of customers.”
The Michigan expansion will add up to 13,000 metric tons of capacity to the site and is expected to come on-stream in 2011. 300 new jobs will be created with the completed expansion, Hemlock said.
In related news, Dow Corning, a major partner in Hemlock Semiconductor group, is investing in the Michigan site to produce high purity monosilane that will be supplied to the rapidly expanding thin-film market and the established LCD industry. This is part of the US$3 billion investment plans. Construction of the new monosilane manufacturing facility in Hemlock will be adjacent to the polysilicon manufacturing site.
“This significant investment to become a leading supplier of monosilane for thin film solar technology will expand our feedstock offering and will further reinforce our position as a value-added material supplier to the solar industry,” said Eric Peeters, Global Executive Director of Dow Corning Solar Solutions.
The new Clarksville facility capacity when added to the expanded Hemlock capacity could add up to 34,000MT of extra polysilicon capacity for Hemlock Semiconductor.