Applied Materials, Inc., via its venture capital fund, Applied Ventures, LLC has invested $3.0 million US dollars in Solaicx, a privately owned manufacturer of single-crystal silicon wafers specifically designed for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. “Our investment in Solaicx aligns well with Applied Materials’ solar strategy and enables Applied to expand its presence in the solar value chain,” said J. Christopher Moran, vice president and general manager of Applied Ventures. “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.”
Solaicx has developed a unique continuous Czochralski (CZ) crystal-growing technology that is claimed to be 5 times more productive than traditional CZ crystal growers used for semiconductor wafer applications and therefore reduces the costs of PV grade wafers.
“Solaicx plans to use Applied Materials’ equipment and manufacturing expertise to assist in fully capitalizing on our market opportunities,” stated Bob Ford, president and CEO of Solaicx.
The invested money is earmarked for a new wafer growing facility scheduled for production start sometime in 2007.