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3M Completes Expansion of its Solar Film Division In Columbia, Missouri

3M completed expansion of its Columbia, Missouri, production complex to improve productivity and support growing demand for high-efficiency photovoltaic modules produced by its Ultra Barrier Solar Film division.

"This manufacturing expansion helps us support our customers' manufacturing scale-up plans by providing ample capacity to this growing market," said Derek DeScioli, Global Business Development Manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Division. "With our new production equipment and continued product innovation, 3M is well positioned to not only increase the performance of our Ultra Barrier Solar Film, but also significantly drive down the costs, further enabling our customers to provide competitive photovoltaic solutions to the commercial rooftop market."

Designed to address the needs of flexible thin film solar manufacturers, 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film acts as a replacement for heavy glass with thin, lightweight, high-light transmission, superb moisture barrier performance, and excellent weatherability, the firm said.

In addition to solar the plant, at 5400 Paris Road North Route B in Columbia, manufactures products for various divisions, including electronic and health care.

While the latest cost of the investment and job creation figures were not immediately available, two years ago the Missouri Department of Economic Development said Missouri Development Finance Board provided 3M with a $24 million grant to defray expansion costs over a five year period, tied to capital investments and increased jobs. At that time the firm planned to add 120 or more employees and make a capital investment of $24 million during the next three years, with improvements that included expansion into solar films.

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