The struggling start-up, Advent Solar, which had already closed its solar module manufacturing line, several rounds of layoffs and shifted its business model to Intellectual Property (IP) provider, has been acquired by Applied Materials for an undisclosed sum. Applied said that the assets of Advent Solar would be integrated with Applied’s Energy and Environmental Solutions Group.
“We believe the acquisition of Advent Solar will increase our opportunities to provide innovative solutions for reducing module production costs,” said Dr. Mark Pinto, CTO and GM of Applied’s Energy and Environmental Solutions Group. “Combining Advent Solar’s PV technology with Applied’s expertise in automated wafering and cell production equipment, we expect to deliver systems that will enhance customers’ c-Si roadmaps and accelerate the reduction in cost per watt of solar electricity.”
Advent had been started by a number of ex-Intel Corp engineers and managers, many coming from Intel’s Albuquerque, New Mexico semiconductor facilities, where Advent was established in 2002.
The start-up had developed several innovative module assembly techniques that were designed to improve the overall conversion efficiency of the finished model as well as reduce manufacturing costs compared to conventional process steps. The company had in particular developed what it claimed was the PV industry’s first cell-to-module solar architecture – ‘Ventura Technology.’
The Ventura Technology was said to design a platform-level design by combining Emitter-Wrap Through (EWT) back-contact cells with semiconductor device manufacturing methods, helping to eliminate efficiency losses inherent in string-ribbon processing to the final module power generation. Also by eliminating the front grid, more sunlight was made available for electrical conversion.
The technology was also under development to be used for Upgraded Metallurgical Silicon (UMG).