Tegal, se2quel Partners form sequel Power to focus on gigawatt-scale PV plant development

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Semiconductor capital equipment supplier Tegal and consultancy se2quel Partners have formed sequel Power, a new company focused on the development and operation of very large-scale solar photovoltaic-based utilities in the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. At least 10 projects in the range of 750MW (DC) to 1.1GW (DC) are in various stages of negotiation, and all are located in high-insolation regions, according to company sources. 

Over the past three years, se2quel Partners, led by solar technology expert Ferdinand Seemann (a former independent director of Tegal), has developed what it calls a unique approach (with patents pending) to develop, build, and operate gigawatt-scale PV-based utilities, which are said to be cost competitive with conventional energy sources.

Sequel Power (a newly formed Delaware limited liability company) will take over the existing projects, along with the technology, know-how, and related infrastructure of se2quel Partners.

Seemann will serve as the new company’s president/CEO while Thomas Mika, president/CEO of Tegal, will serve as its executive chairman.

COO Steven Bay of sequel Power told PV-Tech in an email that “the se2quel PV model includes proprietary technology from sequel Power and its supply chain partners, and manufacturing/installation approaches that support a single guiding principle. That is, in order to be a long-term renewable energy solution, solar PV must reliably deliver a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) that is competitive with traditional fossil fuel-based power generation, independent of subsidies, mandates, and government incentives. 

Noting that the new venture’s disclosure policy “will be very conservative, since we are in a highly competitive environment,” Bay said that “development project details will be announced as significant events are closed, such as commitments to project funding, large long-term contracts with supply chain partners, and permitting and land acquisition events.” 

Terms of the deal include a Tegal contribution of $2 million in cash for a majority voting interest and an approximate 25% economic stake in the new company.

As additional consideration, Tegal has granted warrants to purchase a total of 928,884 shares of its common stock at an exercise price of $0.63 per share to se2quel Partners and se2quel Management GmbH, which represents approximately 11% of Tegal’s total shares outstanding.

Prior to founding se2quel Partners in 2003, Seemann held senior positions in several leading technology companies, including Lam Research, Mattson Technology, Steag Microtech, and his own firm, Seemann Engineering.

Stephan Mohren, founder of se2quel Management GmbH, will manage sequel Power’s European operations under a management services contract with sequel Power.

Additional key members of the sequel Power team include Bay and Karen Reinhardt, both coming over from se2quel Partners. The pair, who have extensive technology backgrounds, will join the new company as COO and CTO, respectively.

Bay said that Reinhardt’s “role has been focused on significant improvements in proven technologies for PV cell manufacturing.  Her accomplishments and those of her process engineering team in the areas of yield improvement, line productivity, process stability, and cell efficiency have been impressive and are well-regarded by our cell manufacturing partners.” 

Mika and Seeman made the following statements in the press release announcing the deal.

“With this initial investment by Tegal Corporation, we continue our transition from our current position as a third-tier supplier of semiconductor capital equipment to pursuing a leading role in green energy,” said Mika. “After extensive due diligence, we believe the projects in PV-based solar energy that sequel Power is initiating can make a true difference to the future of many countries looking to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

“The sequel Power model for large-scale PV-based solar projects is unique in the industry and has won significant acclaim from governments, industrial companies, and industry advocates for its innovation and prospect for success.

“By forming this new company with this talented team, we can capitalize on this opportunity in what we believe to be the most effective way possible for the benefit of our stockholders, which utilizes Tegal’s capital equipment know-how, a portion of our cash, and even potentially the tax benefits of our NOLs. We look forward to supporting the activities of sequel Power through our direct efforts and through related operations and investments we may make in the future.”

“Over the last couple years, we have demonstrated the potential of our unique model for large- scale solar projects, while forming alliances with leaders in our field,” said Seemann. “We believe that sequel Power is in a very promising position to enter into three to four major projects in the United States and Latin America within the next year.

“We look forward to benefitting from Tom’s active involvement in our development projects and in utilizing his extensive expertise in evaluating, structuring and financing complex business arrangements in multiple countries and cultures.”

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