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Hemlock Semiconductor to lay off 100 workers – This week Hemlock is reporting that it will lay off 100 workers in Michigan, with most losing their jobs in the first quarter of 2018, as part of a plan which involves “simplifying and streamlining its organization to meet the new market realities”. The US used to be the largest producer of polysilicon in the world. It was the one solar power related item that brought the net import/export above $0. A combination of events has hammered at this. For one – Chinese tariffs attached to polysilicon as a result of US tariffs on solar modules in 2013 helped. This led to an opening for China and South Korea to ramp up volume – and they’ve done so. As an aside, SolarWorld technically owes $800 million to Hemlock as part of contracts signed when polysilicon cost a lot more.