North Coast Solar Stocks

December 15, 2008

Dow Corning Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Investments to Serve Emerging Global Solar Power Industry

Filed under: DOW, GLW — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:00 pm

Investment provides critical raw materials to solar cell manufacturers

HEMLOCK, Mich. and CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Dow Corning Corporation announced today several billion dollars of investment to provide critical materials to the fast-growing solar technology industry.

“Dow Corning and our Hemlock Semiconductor joint ventures hope to create a viable solar industry that produces new, high paying jobs, clean power technologies and a revitalized economy,” said Stephanie A. Burns, Dow Corning’s chairman, president and CEO. “We’re committing our resources, know-how and technology because we are confident that solar technology represents a tremendous opportunity for both clean energy and economic growth.”

Dow Corning will begin manufacturing high purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays (LCDs). This investment includes construction of a new monosilane manufacturing facility in Hemlock, Michigan, adjacent to Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation’s 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 investment also includes up to $3.0 billion at Dow Corning joint ventures Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor LLC. The companies will expand Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation’s existing Michigan manufacturing facility and build a new site in Clarksville, Tennessee to increase manufacturing capacity for polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) — the cornerstone material used to manufacture most solar cells.

Construction of both the polysilicon expansions and the new monosilane site will begin immediately.

These announcements solidify Dow Corning’s significant role in the development of the two most common types of solar cells; crystalline-based and thin-film solar cells. Crystalline-based solar cells use sliced polysilicon as its main semi-conducting material. Thin-film solar cells are made by depositing a thin film of silicon, enabled by monosilane, onto a sheet of another material such as glass.

“The opportunity and need for solar energy is so great, there will be a need for many solar technologies to flourish to meet global demand,” said Peeters. “Dow Corning intends to offer options across the entire array of solar technologies, allowing our customers to innovate freely.”

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November 22, 2008

Polysilicon prices fall to earth

Filed under: CSIQ, DOW, GLW, JASO, SOLF, STP, TSL, WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:21 pm

Credit crisis hits biggest end-users, the solar-panel makers

By Laura Mandaro, MarketWatch
Last update: 1:21 p.m. EST Nov. 22, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Prices of polysilicon, already pressured by a coming supply glut, are tumbling fast as the credit crisis drives down demand for the solar panels that are the biggest users of the raw material.

polysilicon-projectionsPolysilicon — a sand-derived crystalline material that helps turn sunlight into electricity — has fallen swiftly on the spot market in past months, dropping to about $200 per kilogram from $450 to $500 earlier this year, say analysts and solar-module makers.

And they are likely to fall even further as a flood of new polysilicon supply makes its way out of production, encouraging solar-panel makers to renegotiate contracts that account for the bulk of their materials purchases.

Jeff Osborne of Thomas Weisel Partners expects spot prices to sink below $100 by the end of 2009 and to a $50 to $80 range in 2010, or roughly the same levels as prices in long-term contracts.

Such a drop marks a stark reversal in the cost situation solar-panel makers have faced for the past four years, when polysilicon prices surged and would-be buyers often had trouble finding enough product.

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