French semiconductor wafer producer moves into solar with acquisition of Concentrix Solar

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Specialist Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) semiconductor wafer producer, Soitec is to acquire a major holding in concentrated photovoltaic (CPV), Fraunhofer ISE spin-off, Concentrix Solar. Fraunhofer ISE has retained a 20% stake in the start-up, valuing 100% of Concentrix at €55 million. Soitec also announced that would enter into strategic technology alliance with both the Fraunhofer ISE and the CEA-Leti.

“The Concentrix solution, which we believe is the best for solar farms and therefore industrial production of solar-sourced electricity, has exceptional synergy with Soitec technologies,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, President and CEO of Soitec. “This acquisition represents an exciting and natural expansion for Soitec into the fast-growing solar market, allowing us to leverage our technology and process knowledge in the development of high-performance and cost-competitive photovoltaic solutions up to the system level. We plan to become an active player in the city of Freiburg both through Concentrix industrial activities and through the long term partnership between Soitec and the Fraunhofer ISE. Like other Soitec core businesses, the CPV business aligns with our mission to innovate and create new, energy-efficient materials for high-volume markets serving sustainable development.”

The new technology partners plan to develop next generation CPV solar cells based on Soitec’s proprietary technologies.

“We are very excited at the prospect of Soitec and Concentrix combining forces, and look forward to maintaining and strengthening our long-standing partnership with Concentrix through Soitec,” said Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer ISE. “Soitec will provide remarkable resources for advanced technical development of our III-V solar cell technology and will increase efficiency of existing Concentrix products and technologies.”

Concentrix has demo installations in Spain, Italy, Korea and the United States. The company recently announced that its CX-75 modules had achieved an AC system efficiency of 25% under full operating conditions in the field. Concentrix Solar has a highly automated 25MW production facility in operation, which is expandable to 100MW.

Good Energies and Abengoa Solar were also initial investors in Concentrix Solar.

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