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Tue January 15, 2013
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Hemlock Layoffs a Setback for Mid-State Economy

Credit hscpoly.com/

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Hemlock Semiconductor is laying off three-fourths of employees at its Clarksville plant shortly before production was set to begin there.

The $1.2 billion plant near the Kentucky border was scheduled to start production of polycrystalline silicon this year. The compound is used in solar energy panels.

Officials of the Michigan-based company met with reporters at the Leaf-Chronicle newspaper Tuesday and said the company is laying off 300 of its 400 employees in Clarksville.

Leaf-Chronicle Editor and General Manager Richard Stevens told WMOT News that Montgomery County had seen the project as a light at the end of the recessionary tunnel.

“It was a tough day yesterday for the Clarksville/Montgomery County community, but I don’t think anybody’s thinking that this $1.2 billion plant won’t open at some point in coming months and begin to fulfill the economic promise that it held for our community."

Stevens said Hemlock blames the delayed plant opening and layoffs on a sharp, world-wide drop in prices for solar panel components.