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Wacker Chemie breaks ground on Tennessee plant

In early 2009 German company Wacker Chemie announced plans to build a solar plant in Tennessee.  The plant was projected to be a $1 billion investment that would create hundreds of jobs.

Now, two years later, the company has officially broken ground on the Bradley County location.

Wacker and state and local officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam, took part in the Friday groundbreaking at the 650-acre site. The facility will produce hyperpure polycrystalline silicon, the material used in many electronics and also a key ingredient in the manufacture of solar panels.

Ron Clayton reports in the News Sentinel that the plant, now valued at $1.5 billion, should open in 2014, but Rudolf Staudigl, president and CEO of parent company Wacker Chemie AG, said production for the first year has already been sold, due to high demand.

Wacker Chemical has received more than 4,000 work applications for an anticipated 650 positions at the southeast Tennessee plant, Clayton writes. Current jobs available are in human relations and engineering, with other initial hires to be about 260 employees. Wacker officials say they hope to complete hiring and begin training employees in 2013.

Read the full story, Wacker breaks ground on $1.5B Bradley County plant, on the News Sentinel website.
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