Wacker plant in Charleston opening postponed - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wacker plant in Charleston opening postponed


CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The billion dollar Wacker Chemie plant in Bradley County is slowing production for more than year.

The plant, slated to make parts for solar panels, made the announcement after market trends show a slow down in the solar demand industry.

Wacker Vice President of Polysilicon, Konrad Bachhuber says, "What Wacker has done is adjust the growth of our capacity to the actual need."

On a global scale, analyst at solarbuzz.com say polysilicon capacity is expected to grow by the end in 2012 and increase further in 2013. (Chart here

Tom Walker runs U-Designs Solar Applications in Cleveland.

He says since Wackers groundbreaking, the interest in solar power has peaked.

"In this area we have noticed a substantial amount of growth especially because the price is cheaper. Solar panels are about 1/3 less than a year ago," he says.

"The industry is growing very fast and we have to work to take care of work capacity in the market," says Bachhuber.

The solar industry has felt the sting of companies going belly-up as seven have in the last year (see here).

Experts say once the Charleston plant is completed Wacker should see massive gains.

Right now the growth will have a slower pace.

"What this means is in the end we are slowing down a little bit and we don't have to keep the pace we have right now," Bachuber says.

Wacker says they will continue to hire hundreds of employees and the delay will not have an effect on the capitol investments.

The TVA offers a tax credit to homeowners who qualify for solar energy systems.

Visit here for details.

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