21 January 2011
GT Solar wins $33.3m order for sapphire furnaces from South Korea’s OCI
GT Solar International Inc of Merrimack, NH, USA (a provider of polysilicon production technology as well as sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets) has received a $33.3m order for sapphire crystallization furnaces from South Korea's OCI Company Ltd.
The order marks OCI’s entrance into the fast-growing LED industry, and is GT Solar’s first commercial sale of sapphire crystallization furnaces into the Korea LED market (since its $57.8m acquisition last July of sapphire growth technology firm Crystal Systems Inc of Salem, MA). OCI will use the furnaces to produce high-quality sapphire substrates for a wide range of LED products such as high-brightness LEDs. The order will be included in GT Solar’s backlog for its current fiscal fourth-quarter 2011 (which ends on 2 April).
“This is the third order for our sapphire crystallization furnaces in the last two months from leading PV manufacturers that are entering the LED market,” says president & CEO Tom Gutierrez. In December, GT Solar received two orders totaling more than $84m from China’s Jiangsu Jixing New Material Co Ltd and Jiujiang Sapphire Tech Co Ltd (affiliates of two “highly valued long-term photovoltaic customers”). “We worked closely with OCI several years ago when they launched their polysilicon production operations, helping them to become one of the PV industry’s leading producers of polysilicon,” he adds.
GT Solar says that it has enabled new market entrants in the PV industry to establish productive and profitable manufacturing operations with its proven crystallization process technology and global support resources. PV manufacturers with expertise in the production of crystalline materials are targeting the LED market as a new opportunity. Market research firm Yole Développment forecasts that the LED market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 20.5% from 2010 through 2015.