At an event the company is calling "Solar Day," Dow Corning will announce the start of construction in Thomas Township, Mich., of a manufacturing plant that will manufacture monosilane gas – a key material used to manufacture thin-film solar cells. Dow Corning will also unveil a solar panel installation and Solar Discovery Center at its corporate headquarters in Midland, Mich.
"Autumn may be approaching, but the sun is shining brightly at Dow Corning. And it is waiting for us," said Stephanie A. Burns, Dow Corning's chairman, president and CEO. "There is still much work to do to make solar energy a sustainable energy option for everyone, everywhere. These investments represent our continued commitment to both innovating and using alternative energy technologies."
Dow Corning Monosilanes Facility
Located adjacent to Hemlock Semiconductor Group's, Michigan polysilicon manufacturing site, the Dow Corning Monosilanes facility will manufacture high-purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays. The facility represents an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and will initially employ approximately 30 people. The Dow Corning Monosilanes facility is expected to be completed in 2011.
"This significant investment to become a leading supplier of monosilane for thin film solar technology will expand our feedstock offering and will further reinforce Dow Corning's position as a material supplier across multiple solar technologies," said Eric Peeters, global executive director, Dow Corning Solar Solutions.
Dow Corning Headquarters Solar Array and Solar Discovery Center
The solar installation at Dow Corning headquarters features 136 solar panels and will produce approximately 30 kilowatt-hours of power--the amount of electricity consumed by approximately seven to 10 homes in a year.
In addition to providing clean, alternative energy to the electrical grid, the solar installation serves as a testing ground for Dow Corning's silicone encapsulation solution. Half of the solar panels in the installation are encapsulated with Dow Corning's advanced silicone encapsulation solution to compare and test in real-life conditions, with the other half encapsulated using standard technology.
Dow Corning constructed a Solar Discovery Center adjacent to the installation featuring interactive displays to educate visitors about solar technology. The Solar Discovery Center offers the company an opportunity to educate students and community leaders about how solar technology works as well as about the company's critical role in solar technology.
"It is important for everyone in our community, especially students, to understand both how solar technology works and the opportunity it represents for the world," said Marie N. Eckstein, Dow Corning's vice president and chief administrative officer. "We would like to invite community and student groups to contact us if they're interested in seeing the solar panels and solar education center."
The solar panel installation at Dow Corning's headquarters is the third the company has been involved with in Michigan. Others are at the Michigan site of Dow Corning's joint venture the Hemlock Semiconductor Group, and at Dow Diamond in Midland, home of the minor league baseball's Great Lakes Loons. In total, Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor are generating approximately 90 kilowatt-hours of solar power in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
In addition, Dow Corning's Wiesbaden, Germany site is partially powered by solar panels. The installation in Wiesbaden generates nearly 100 kilowatt-hours of power, the amount of energy needed to satisfy the annual electricity needs of 35 households.
Dow Corning's silicon-based materials are used in solar cell manufacturing, solar module assembly and installation. In the past five years, Dow Corning and its joint ventures, the Hemlock Semiconductor Group, have announced investments of more than $5 billion to research and develop as well as to expand production of materials critical to the solar industry.
To learn more about Dow Corning's efforts to promote a comprehensive energy policy that will support the growth and success of a vibrant American solar energy industry visit www.dowcorning.com/solarpolicy. ,