Solar Woes Hit Chemicals | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 44 | p. 12 | Concentrates
Issue Date: October 29, 2012

Solar Woes Hit Chemicals

Department: Business
Keywords: solar, photovoltaics, silane, polysilicon

The financial woes of the solar power industry are starting to hurt the chemical companies that supply it with raw materials. In announcing third-quarter results last week (see page 7), DuPont said sales in its electronics business fell 28%, primarily because of slumping demand for photo­voltaic materials. The company also took a $150 million pretax charge to reflect poor conditions in its thin-film solar module business. Air Products & Chemicals revealed that it is restructuring its solar materials business at a cost of $186 million before taxes. Wacker Chemie announced that it is delaying the start-up of a polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tenn., by 18 months to mid-2015. Evonik Industries and Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso recently decided to end a silane production joint venture in Japan just a year after their plant opened. And Ferro said earlier this month that it may sell its business in conductive pastes for solar panels because of poor demand.

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