A trio of technology investments show movement in the chemical industry towards solar development. In a joint venture called Hemlock Semiconductor, Dow Corning and its partners are investing an initial $1.2 billion to build a polysilicon plant in Clarksville, Tenn., and Dow Corning is also investing in a plant making silane gas, used in the manufacturing of thin-film photovoltaics. Also, Konarka Technologies, which makes flexible-film solar cells, has reached R&D agreements with French company Total to focus on solar cell components.

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