Soitec Bursts Into Solar Sector

Microelectronics substrate supplier the Soitec Group has announced a major shift into the solar technology sector with an agreement to acquire concentrating solar PV company Concentrix Solar GmbH.

Based in Freiburg, Germany, Concentrix is a 2005 spin-off company from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), and with its 80% share acquisition, Soitec also gains access to the concentrator solar cell technologies from the research institute, which will continue to hold the remaining 20%. Under the terms of the deal, Concentrix is valued at €55 million.

Simultaneously, Soitec signed a strategic technology alliance with both the Fraunhofer ISE and the CEA-Leti.

As part of the transaction, the Fraunhofer ISE has entered into a long-term technology license agreement with Soitec and the partners plan to develop the next generation of CPV cells based on Soitec’s proprietary technologies. The collaboration includes CEA-Leti, Soitec’s long-time partner within the Grenoble R&D cluster.

Soitec says it is entering the solar industry in order to expand its revenue base as worldwide demand for CPV is anticipated to ramp up strongly in the coming years. The company believes that its technologies in engineered substrates are key to improving solar cell performance, and therefore strongly complement Concentrix’s high-efficiency CPV systems.

André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, president and CEO of Soitec, commented: “This acquisition represents an exciting and natural expansion for Soitec into the fast-growing solar market, allowing us to leverage our technology and process knowledge in the development of high-performance and cost-competitive photovoltaic solutions up to the system level.” He added: “Like other Soitec core businesses, the CPV business aligns with our mission to innovate and create new, energy-efficient materials for high-volume markets serving sustainable development.”

Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, CEO of Concentrix noted: “With Soitec’s experience and financial strengths, we are going to be able to boost our growth further and move faster in the industrial phase.”

Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisers to Soitec.

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