Intel inside silicon solar wafer producer SpectraWatt

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Intel Corporation has spun off solar cell technology developed in-house under its New Business Initiatives group that is designed to stimulate new businesses from Intel employees. The start-up is called SpectraWatt, with the lead investor being Intel Capital. Other investors in the $50 million round include Goldman Sachs, PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund (“CETF”) and German module manufacturer Solon AG, presumably an expected customer of SpectraWatt. How much Intel or the other partners actually invested was not made clear.

“SpectraWatt is a great example of technology resulting from entrepreneurial efforts inside Intel,” said Arvind Sodhani, President of Intel Capital and Intel Executive Vice President. “This is an important investment for Intel Capital in the growing cleantech sector and we look forward to working with the company to support its expansion.”

“The formation of SpectraWatt is an important step forward in the renewable energy market,” said Andrew B. Wilson, SpectraWatt CEO and former General Manager in the Intel New Business Initiatives group. “We are pleased to work with these companies in the goal of moving toward long-term national energy independence.”

SpectraWatt said that it expects to break ground on its manufacturing and advanced technology development facility in Hillsboro, Oregon in the second half of 2008. Reports indicate that the site – which is on Intel’s West Union Campus – was donated by Intel. Cell shipments are expected to begin by mid-2009.

According to SpectraWatt, its main emphasis will be on making improvements to traditional cell production processes to lower the costs. The company has yet to reveal efficiency level expectations.

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