Wacker polysilicon facilities begin production

Wacker Chemie, a manufacturer of chemical and semiconductor products, has started polysilicon production at its facilities in Nunchritz, Germany.

The facilities include a gas recovery unit which recycles by-products and feeds them back into the manufacturing process.

The €900m facilities are expected to increase the company's polysilicon capacity by a total of 15,000t per annum within the next few weeks.

Wacker is also ramping up to reach its total capacity for polysilicon to around 52,000t per annum by the end of 2012.

With the new polysilicon site currently under construction in Charleston, Tennessee, US, the company's total production capacity is expected increase to around 70,000t per annum by 2014.

Wacker Chemie president and CEO Rudolf Staudigl said the expansion of capacity is a key prerequisite to enable the company to meet its customers' demand for polysilicon for use in solar cells.

"Wacker's entire polysilicon output, including that from Nünchritz, is almost completely under contract until the end of 2015," Rudolf added.

"We are very optimistic about the outlook for photovoltaics because the significant price decline for polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules strengthens photovoltaics' competitiveness as an energy source.

"The polysilicon from Nünchritz will assist us in meeting the growth demand in China, India and the US."

Headquartered in Germany, Wacker manufactures silicone rubbers, chemical materials, wafers and polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder for semiconductor industry.