Hemlock Semiconductor Corp., the largest U.S. provider of polysilicon, plans to lay off about 400 people in Michigan and Tennessee amid a global glut of the main raw ingredient in solar cells.
The layoffs will take place in the next few weeks and may become permanent if poor market conditions persist, the Hemlock, Michigan-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.
“The unresolved trade disputes among the U.S., China and Europe are a major factor,” Hemlock President Andrew Tometich said in the statement. “The threat of tariffs on U.S. polysilicon imported into China has significantly decreased orders from China, which is home to one of the largest markets for our products.”
The price of polysilicon has declined 77 percent during the last two years as Chinese companies flooded the market with panels and drove down demand, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Hemlock is jointly owned by Dow Corning, Shin-Etsu Handotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.