6 December 2012
IQE completes CPV technology process transfer milestones with Solar Junction
Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says it has achieved several key technology transfer milestones representing significant progress in its commercial relationship with Solar Junction of San Jose, CA, USA, which manufactures III-V multi-junction solar cells for concentrated photovoltaics (CPV).
In February, IQE announced an exclusive manufacturing and technology transfer agreement with Solar Junction and laid out a series of milestones. These milestones were designed to culminate in the delivery of full three-junction (3J) structures to Solar Junction based on successful installation and commissioning of customized production-scale molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) tools, and subsequent technology transfer from Solar Junction. Completion of this was planned for fourth-quarter 2012.
IQE and Solar Junction have now completed these milestones and the delivery of full 3J wafers (using the transferred process) to Solar Junction. Commercial production is expected to begin in first-half 2013, initially with customer product qualification quantities, moving to volume production in second-half 2013.
Independently, Solar Junction has qualified its cells to full IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) specifications with several customers, and is strongly engaged with all leading CPV systems houses.
“Our deal with Solar Junction earlier this year will significantly accelerate our well established CPV strategy and position us to become the key epiwafer supplier to the CPV market,” reckons IQE’s chief executive Dr Drew Nelson. “The combination of Solar Junction’s core materials IP and technology, with its recently improved world-record efficiencies of 44% [achieved in October], together with our own IP and manufacturing capabilities, provides a compelling route to significantly higher cell efficiency and cost-effective, high-volume production for the CPV industry. That combination is now all but complete, and we are on track to move to commercial volume production during 2013,” he adds.
“As we approach the end of our financial year, we are also confident that we will meet our earnings expectations,” Nelson continues. “The transformational deals completed with Solar Junction and RFMD earlier this year are highly complementary and position the group for accelerating growth in rapidly expanding markets.”