As rumors go, this is not as far-fetched as it seems!
to news agency AFX, Intel Corporation is looking at getting into the
solar wafer manufacturing game via an acquisition or two, though real
details seem very thin on the ground.
That said, Samsung is also said to be looking at doing the same, which
makes sense. For Samsung it’s a great fit as the company is a major
flat panel display manufacturer as well as a chip manufacturer.
both companies have something very much in common, namely old 200mm
fabs. Over the course of a few more years these fabs will become
technically backward and, in the case of Samsung, completely
uncompetitive for memory manufacturing.
Although Samsung has
already shifted away from memory production at even older 200mm fabs in
the past 18 months, there is only so much demand for the logic products
that Samsung has switched these fabs over to produce.
wafer or thin-film panel production would be a great cleanroom filler,
which is also what Intel may need to do or else close all of its 200mm
fabs in the near future. With skilled engineers on tap, and all the
facility requirements such as recycling systems etc. in place as well
as wafer supply contracts, the actual shift to solar production would
be very easy and cost-effective.
When I say cost-effective, how about cost-FREE!
a strong 200mm used tool market environment, the sale of a complete fab
tool set could actually pay for the new solar cell tool set, perhaps
with some change for retraining!
Don’t forget that we have seen
a few chip manufacturers get into the solar game, so expect more to do
so sooner rather than later. Both Intel and Samsung fit the bill!