Wacker Chemie AG has announced new polysilicon expansion plans that would see the company become the largest producer in the world, when the new round of capacity comes on stream in 2011.
Wacker said it would increase the capacity under its current ‘Phase 8’ expansion from 7,000MT to 10,000MT as well as starting ‘Phase 9,’ a further 10,000MT expansion that will see capacity reach 35,000MT by the end of 2011. The expansions are expected to cost €760 million the company said.
Wacker believes that it will see continued double-digit annual growth in polysilicon demand from the PV industry as well as continued demand from the semiconductor industry.
The new 10,000MT polysilicon plant will be built at Nünchritz, Saxony, Germany, which has already seen the company invest over €550 million. Approximately 450 new jobs will be created.
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“We expect crystalline solar technology to show continued strong growth and customer demand for polysilicon to remain high,” said Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. “Already the world’s second-largest polysilicon producer, we intend to reinforce and extend our market position by intensifying capacity expansion. Nünchritz’s highly advanced infrastructure and integrated production loops make it the logical choice for this expansion from a business and technical viewpoint.”
Currently, Hemlock Semiconductor is the largest producer of polysilicon in the world and has been expanding capacity in a major move to meet demand, especially from the PV industry. Hemlock is currently completing a $1 billion expansion in production and has been reported to be looking for a new plant location to begin the next phase of growth.