June 25, 2008 - SVTC Technologies has officially opened its Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center in San Jose, with a new solar-cell manufacturing line, solar-module certification equipment, and a major silicon-wafer solar cell customer.
The company says it has begun accepting first solar manufacturing customers, with $20-$30M in corporate investments so far. In addition, local funds for the facility include $100,000 each from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency and the California Employment Training Panel Fund.
German equipment manufacturer Roth & Rau has provided a 5MW capacity turnkey silicon wafer solar cell manufacturing line for pilot production (the company also will use the SVTC facility as its regional showroom). And first key customer is JA Solar, a Chinese supplier of silicon wafer solar cells which has signed a "letter of intent" to locate its North American R&D activities there. JA Solar's product focus is on monocrystalline silicon solar cells utilizing advanced techniques in diffusion and PECVD film formation, noted SVTC in a statement.
SVTC says it has other customers that have agreed to use the center for solar development, but they are in startup mode and wish to remain confidential for now.
In a recent interview with WaferNEWS, SVTC's Kurt Laetz, managing director of strategic marketing, described the firm's efforts as initially a regional play, with planned buildout of 25-30 customers in three years. In addition to initial silicon wafer capabilities/equipment, SVTC also is talking with potential customers in GaAs and thin-film areas.