With this decision, the Munich-based chemical group responds to the changing solar market conditions and current overcapacities for polysilicon.
“This time schedule brings the development of our global polysilicon capacities in line with anticipated customer demand,” said Group CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl.
The Charleston site currently under construction is Wacker Chemie AG's most recent production plant for hyperpure polysilicon, which is a key raw material for solar cells. Construction work began in early April 2011. Wacker’s current staff of approximately 280 employees are key to the success of the project and will continue their work to meet the launch schedule.
Now that the completion schedule has been refined, Wacker is aligning its construction schedule and staffing ramp-up to correspond with the startup of production. The key project targets for plant capacity, investment and jobs remain unchanged.
Wacker Chemie A.G. announced on Feb. 25, 2009, amid great fanfare at Lee University, plans to build a polysilicon plant west of Charleston near Olin Chemical Corp., which will be a supplier of chlorine used in the purification process of raw silicone.
The initial investment grew from $685 million to $1 billion, then from $1.2 billion to a current estimate of $1.8 billion.
In March 2009, the last “i” was dotted and the final “t” was crossed on a contract for 550 acres of land in north Bradley County where the $1 billion polycrystalline silicon production facility would be built.
The company bought approximately 78 acres from Olin Corporation and a little more than 450 acres from Wright Brothers Construction Co., of Charleston. The property is located along McBryant Road and Lower River Road near Olin Corp.
Wacker Chemie AG officially started construction work on April 8, 2011, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by area business, state and local government representatives.
The production complex was originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.