A small midcap South Korea-based leather manufacturer, Uni-Chem, would appear to be the first customer under Spire’s ‘Come to America’ campaign with an agreement to set up a 60MW crystalline silicon cell and a 50MW turnkey module production line in the U.S. The two companies will also partner on the solar system integration arm of Spire, with Uni-Chem purchasing a 51% stake in Spire Solar Systems. Earlier this year Spire and Gloria Solar of Taiwan disbanded their joint system integration business, which became Spire Solar Systems.
According to Associated Press and the Eugene Register-Guard, Uni-Chem had acquired the stake in Spire Solar Systems in August and is also planning to buy a shuttered semiconductor fab owned by Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor in Eugene, Oregon, and convert the facility into a solar cell plant.
Interestingly, with the Uni-Chem deal, Spire has taken the Come to America campaign further than most would have expected. Spire said that the Korean company would lease space at its Spire Semiconductor facility in Hudson, New Hampshire, to house both automated production lines.
According to the turnkey supplier, both lines will become operational in the second half of 2010. Uni-Chem’s investments in the system group and production lines were put at approximately US$60 million.
(Also check the latest story from the Register-Guard for more on the proposed sale of the Hynix fab to Uni-Chem.)