Hemlock, Michigan [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, based in Hemlock, Mich. (USA), is launching a worldwide search for a second manufacturing site to produce polycrystalline silicon to support the growing demand from the solar industry and electronics markets.The search will begin immediately as company officials evaluate locations throughout the globe. Hemlock Semiconductor expects to have the new facility operational within the next 5 years. Factors in selecting the new site include: cost of energy, tax considerations, incentive programs, labor and land costs, and the surrounding infrastructure. “The solar industry requires polycrystalline silicon to continue to develop the next generation of solar technologies,” said Richard S. Doornbos, president and CEO of Hemlock Semiconductor. “We’re looking for a site that enables us to expand and continue to serve customers around the world in this rapidly growing and progressive industry. Exploring opportunities for adding capacity in Michigan will get the same consideration as other potential global sites.” Polycrystalline silicon is the cornerstone material used to produce solar cells that harvest energy from sunlight. An ultra-pure version of the material is also the base-material for silicon wafers used in electronic devices. Hemlock Semiconductor is the world’s largest producer of polycrystalline silicon. In November 2005, the company broke ground on an expansion at its existing facility in Hemlock, Mich. that will increase the site’s current annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons to 14,500 metric tons in 2008 and then to 19,000 metric tons by 2009. Doornbos said the capacity at the second site will provide additional flexibility for future growth. Marie N. Eckstein, vice president and general manager of Advanced Technologies at Dow Corning expects the solar energy industry to grow at a 30 – 40 percent pace over the next 10 years. “The solar industry is ripe with innovation, and shortages in polycrystalline silicon have held the industry back somewhat,” said Eckstein. “Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor are doing everything we can to help our customers continue to create innovative products that benefit people throughout the globe.” Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation is a joint venture of Dow Corning Corporation and two Japanese firms, Shin-Etsu Handotai Company, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. In addition to serving the solar energy market, the company also provides materials used in the production of semiconductor devices used in computers, cell phones and other electronic applications.