November 20, 2006 – Furthering its newfound interests in the high-growth solar market, Applied Materials Inc. says it has invested $3.0 million in Solaicx, a privately held manufacturer of single-crystal silicon wafers for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. The firm plans to use the investment to open a second manufacturing site in the US by next year.
Solaicx utilizes a proprietary continuous Czochralski (CZ) crystal growing methodology that it says could be up to 5x more effective for growing single-crystal silicon than traditional CZ systems, which were designed primarily for use in semiconductor manufacturing.
“Applied is committed to providing the solar industry with technology and process innovations to reduce the cost per watt of solar power. Solaicx meets these requirements — offering improved manufacturing technology to facilitate the streamlined manufacturing of solar cell wafers,” said J. Christopher Moran, VP and GM of Applied Ventures, in a statement.
In July, AMAT completed its $464 million acquisition of Applied Films Corp., a supplier of thin-film deposition equipment used in manufacturing flat-panel displays, solar cells, flexible electronics and energy-efficient glass. The company also has restructured its operations to break out a new business encompassing solar and other high-growth activities. In AMAT’s fiscal 4Q06 (ended in October), this Adjacent Technologies segment posted revenues of $20 million.