Intel spins off $50M solar firm

June 16, 2008 – Intel says it is spinning off key assets of an internal startup business into an independent company to manufacture and supply photovoltaic cells to solar module makers.

The new firm, SpectraWatt, will focus on “advanced solar cell technologies” and developing better manufacturing processes and capabilities, according to a statement. Groundbreaking is slated for 2H08 on a manufacturing/technology development facility in Oregon, with first shipments planned by mid-2009.

Investors in SpectraWatt’s initial $50M investment round of funding include Intel Capital, Cogentrix Energy (a Goldman Sachs subsidiary), PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund, and European solar module maker Solon AG.

In a statement, Intel noted that the end-user segment for solar technology increased 50% in 2007 to about $30B, with future CAGR of 30%-40% expected as costs fall down to levels comparable with traditional electricity-generation technologies. The chipmaker also noted that the internal development of the small solar business is a marriage of its culture to both seek new business opportunities as well as protect the environment, noting that it’s on track to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2004-2010, and is tops in the EPA’s “Green Power” list as the largest purchaser of renewable energy credits.


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