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26 May 2015

Soitec divests solar system business to refocus on core semiconductor activities

Soitec of Bernin, near Grenoble, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers, has announced a definitive agreement to sell its solar system business - including all technology assets and manufacturing operations in Freiburg, Germany and San Diego, CA, USA - to ConcenSolar, a privately held business partner of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) firm Suncore Photovoltaic Technology Co Ltd of Huainan, Anhui Province, China (which is owned by San'an Optoelectronics Co Ltd, the largest LED maker in China).

Suncore was founded in 2010 as a joint venture owned 40% by US-based Emcore Corp and 60% by San'an Optoelectronics Co Ltd of Xiamen, China (which designs and manufactures products including high-brightness LED chips and wafers, solar cells, and PIN photodiodes). Suncore manufactures CPV components, modules and systems for terrestrial solar power applications. In June 2013, Emcore exited the JV by selling its stake to San'an.

Soitec is retaining for future disposal other assets of its solar system business, including its stake in certain solar power plants. The firm will also continue to develop and bring to market (based on its existing industrial capacity) a four-junction solar cell ('Smart Cell') that is distinguished by achieving record solar energy conversion efficiency of 46% (reported in December 2014).

As announced on 19 January, Soitec's board of directors unanimously decided to implement a strategic plan to refocus Soitec's activities on its core semiconductor business. "This agreement represents a key milestone for Soitec and a reinforcement of our core semiconductor business," says Soitec's CEO Paul Boudre. Soitec has already reduced the solar business' staffing from 385 at the end of December 2014 to 272 at the end of March.

"Soitec's CPV solar modules represent the most advanced technology with proven reliability and project bankability, as well as competitive cost structure due to production automation and high-efficiency performance," comments ConcenSolar's Dr Charlie Wang. "Combining our experience of solar project development and financing capability from our established financing partners, this acquisition further strengthens our position to provide the most cost-effective solar power solutions for our utility-scale customers," he believes. 

Soitec expects the transaction to close in third-quarter 2015 (subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions).

See related items:

Fraunhofer ISE, Soitec and Leti raise solar cell efficiency record from 44.7% to 46%

Tags: Soitec Suncore CPV

Visit: www.soitec.com

Visit: www.suncorepv.com

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