SpectraWatt sources Wafers from PV Crystalox Solar

Intel spins SpectraWatt outside!

Earlier this week, Intel Spins off Solar Energy Technology; Intel Capital Invests in SpectraWatt was the press mill news of the day. In a chat with SpectraWatt CEO Andrew Wilson, the Tech giant Intel joins IBM and Applied in big solar bet post by Neal Dikeman at the CNET news.com Green Tech Blog or the Cleantech Blog foreshadowed the first silicon announcement:

According to Andrew, they have a significant supply of silicon secured, and while he cannot say who the vendors are, at least one of those vendors will likely be announcing soon, as the Spectrawatt contract is a material event for them.

Per the June 18, 2008, press release, PV Crystalox Solar Plc – New Contract:

PV Crystalox Solar plc is pleased to announce the signing of a contract with newly formed Intel spin-off SpectraWatt. The agreement relates to the supply of multicrystalline wafers with a total output of 125 MW during the period 2009 -2013 and is structured with predetermined prices and volumes.

PV Crystalox Solar PLC (LON:PVCS) claims to be the largest pure play producer of multicrystalline wafers in the world. PV Crystalox is in the process of constructing an 1,800 MT (Metric Ton) solar grade silicon production facility in Bitterfeld, Germany to complement their existing silicon sources and expects to start production in 2009 with about 900 MT per year ramping to 1,800 MT by 2011.

SpectraWatt will focus on the production of multicrystalline (and monocrystalline?) silicon solar cells for solar module manufacturers, and:

expects to break ground on its manufacturing and advanced technology development facility in Oregon in the second half of 2008 with first product shipments expected by mid-2009.

In the June 17, 2008, Hot Comment, “Solar Investments Further Validated”, Sr. Research Analyst Jesse Pichel and his Piper Jaffray & Co. Team said:

This factory is expected to have secured silicon supply to buy wafers to make 60MW in the first phase with future plans to expand into overseas markets with a targeted GW goal by 2012.

SpectraWatt had better have big plans to scale production. Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (OSL:REC) Invests NOK 13 billion in Singapore just announced expansion plans for their Singapore project Phase I that targets less than €1 per Watt-peak (Wp) silicon through module production costs and expands cumulative production to about 2.4 GWp (GigaWatt-peak) of wafers, 780 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) of cells, and 740 MWp of modules all by 2012. REC will decide on a Singapore Phase II expansion in 2009.

In the same Hot Comment, Mr. Pichel said:

Solon’s stake in SpectraWatt is 16% and will be the majority customer of SpectraWatt near term.

If SpectraWatt has developed advanced technologies for high efficiency silicon solar cells, is it conceivable they will mount a challenge to SunPower’s efficiency leadership?

Thanks to Martin LaMonica, also at the CNET news.com Green Tech Blog, for linking to my Stion post, Stion leaves Photovoltaic Patent Trail, in Green news harvest: 500-mile fuel cell car, Linux gets ‘green flag’.

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