Wacker delays Bradley County plant start by 18 months

Wacker delays Bradley County plant start by 18 months

October 24th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

The current construction of the new Wacker plant near Charleston, TN.

The current construction of the new Wacker plant...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Wacker Chemie AG today announced that polysilicon production at its Charleston, Tenn., site will be delayed and start in mid-2015, about 18 months later than the prior schedule.

The company said it's responding 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, in a statement.

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 said it's 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 plans to employ 650 people and spend $1.5 billion on construction.

Construction of the plant was hindered earlier this month when an accident killed two workers.

See Thursday's Times Free Press for full story.