IQE receives first major orders for CPV solar wafers worth c $2m

06 July 2012

Cardiff, UK, 6 July 2012: IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry, announces its first major orders for CPV (Concentrating PhotoVoltaic) wafers from Solar Junction Corporation (“Solar Junction”), a leading edge CPV cell developer and manufacturer.

The orders are worth a total of $1.95m, relating to $1m for first production wafers and $950K for development wafers for improving yet further the efficiency of Solar Junction's CPV products. IQE signed a seven-year exclusive wafer supply agreement with Solar Junction in February 2012.

The CPV wafer production order follows Solar Junction’s recent announcement of its first 5MW order from SolFocus Inc, which has been chosen as the system supplier for the 450MW project in Baja, Mexico, the largest CPV project announced to date, funded by Grupo Musa and Synergy Technologies LLC. CPV project announcements during 2012 are exceeding industry projections, with more than 650MW project announcements thus far.

Solar Junction currently holds the world record for CPV cell efficiency at 43.5% and, in conjunction with IQE’s proprietary internal wafer technology, aims to develop cell architectures with efficiencies of more than 50%. The cost of generating electricity using CPV in hot sunny areas such as California is already at cost parity with all other forms of power generation (source: GTM) and increasing cell efficiency will further lower the cost of CPV power generation substantially.

Dr Drew Nelson, IQE President and CEO, said:

“This order from Solar Junction is clear indication that CPV technology is gaining significant traction in large scale power generation projects in sunny areas.

“Our long term, exclusive wafer supply agreement with the world record holders in cell efficiency, coupled with the large scale manufacturing capacity now in place following our deal to acquire RFMD’s in-house MBE production capacity, position IQE to be a major wafer supplier to the rapidly emerging CPV industry, by far the most efficient of any solar technology.”


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Note to Editors  

IQE is the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafers with products that cover a diverse range of applications, supported by an innovative outsourced foundry services portfolio that allows the Group to provide a 'one stop shop' for the wafer needs of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers.

IQE uses advanced crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers 'epi-wafers' to the major chip manufacturing companies, which then use these wafers to make the chips which form the key components of virtually all high technology systems. IQE is unique in being able to supply wafers using all of the leading crystal growth technology platforms.

IQE's products are found in many leading-edge consumer, communication, computing and industrial applications, including a complete range of wafer products for the wireless industry, such as mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, base stations, GPS, and satellite communications; optical communications, optical storage (CD, DVD), laser optical mouse, laser printers & photocopiers, thermal imagers, leading-edge medical products, barcode, ultra high brightness LEDs, a variety of advanced silicon based systems and high efficiency concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells.

The manufacturers of these chips are increasingly seeking to outsource wafer production to specialist foundries such as IQE in order to reduce overall wafer costs and accelerate time to market.

In February 2012, IQE made a strategic investment and exclusive wafer supply agreement with leading edge Concentrated Photovoltaic (“CPV”) cell developer and manufacturer Solar Junction Corporation (“SJC”). The move marked a significant step in its strategy to become a leading global supplier of CPV wafers for the solar power markets.

In June 2012, IQE acquired the in-house MBE epitaxy manufacturing unit of RFMD and secured a seven-year wafer supply agreement.

IQE operates a number of global manufacturing and R&D facilities: Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Bath in the United Kingdom; Bethlehem (PA), Somerset (NJ), Greensboro (NC) and Spokane (WA) in the USA; and Singapore. The Group also has 11 sales offices located in major economic centres worldwide.