Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Monday, November 23, 2009

Leading Silicon manufacturer, Globe Specialty Metals, reopens in Upstate NY; New York offers discounted silicon to solar cell manufacturers as an incentive to locate in the state

Globe Specialty Metals Inc., a leading silicon manufacturer, has reopened its Niagara Falls plant today, investing $27 million and creating 138 jobs as part of the first phase of a $60 million economic development project. The company has restarted its two furnaces and has upgraded the equipment used to produce approximately 30,000 tons of metallurgical grade silicon each year. The Governor made the announcement today at Globe’s Niagara Falls plant.  Jeff Bradley, CEO of Globe Specialty Metals, said: “This investment, especially at a time like this, demonstrates Globe’s confidence and optimism in the future and resilience of American manufacturing."

Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) created an economic development package in 2008 that provides Globe with 40 MW of hydropower over five years with a potential five-year expansion.  As part of the agreement, Globe will allow ESD to offer solar cell manufacturers up to 25 percent of Globe’s upgraded metallurgical grade silicon (UMG-Si) production at a reduced price as an incentive to locate to New York State. This agreement is designed to fuel the development of the clean energy industry in New York. 

New York State’s silicon incentive is the only known government incentive in the United States offering silicon to solar cell manufacturers.

Globe’s initial investment of $27 million is part of the first phase of a two-phase project. A significant portion of the company’s capital investment is devoted to modernizing and improving emission controls equipment in order to meet or exceed all environmental standards. In addition, Globe has improved the appearance of the facility by demolishing old structures and removing unnecessary equipment.

Phase II of the project will include the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot, $35 million facility in Niagara Falls to convert Globe’s metallurgical grade silicon into 4,000 tons of upgraded metallurgical grade silicon each year – enough to produce 500MW of solar power. The new facility will position Globe as the leader in research and innovative production of UMG-Si. The project is expected to create a total of 500 well-paying jobs in Niagara Falls.

Many solar technologies require purified silicon, which is in high demand but is extremely scarce. Globe Specialty Metals will manufacture purified silicon at their Niagara Falls plant, which is expected to help attract major solar panel manufacturers to the State and the region.  Earlier this year, Oregon-based SpectraWatt Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of solar cells, established its first factory at the Hudson Valley Research Park in Hopewell Junction in Dutchess County after receiving an option to purchase 200 metric tons of Globe’s silicon per year. As part of that agreement, SpectraWatt will hire 161 employees and invest over $80 million in its new facility.

Globe Specialty Metals Inc. is among the world’s largest producers of silicon metal and silicon-based specialty alloys, which are critical ingredients in a host of industrial and consumer products with growing markets. Customers include major silicone chemical, aluminum and steel manufacturers, producers of photovoltaic solar cells and computer chips, the auto industry, ductile iron foundries and concrete producers. Globe has major manufacturing facilities in New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Argentina and China, with the company’s headquarters located in New York City. Principal operating subsidiaries are Globe Metallurgical, Inc., and Solsil, Inc., in the U.S.; Globe Metales S.A. in Argentina; and Ningxia Yonvey Coal Industry Co., Ltd., in China. Collectively, Globe’s facilities have the capacity to produce approximately 110,000 metric tons of silicon metal and 72,800 metric tons of silicon-based alloy products on an annual basis.