TSMC paves PV inroad, takes top stake in Motech

Furthering its push into the solar arena, top foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is investing about $193M for a 20% stake in c-Si firm Motech Industries, making it the company’s largest shareholder.

December 11, 2009 – Furthering its push into the solar arena, top foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is investing about $193M for a 20% stake in Motech Industries, making it the company’s largest shareholder.

Motech was the eight-largest solar cell manufacturer in 2008, producing 272MW of crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells (it also offers photovoltaic systems and inverters), with in-house ingot and wafer capabilities and a majority investment in polysilicon production via advanced fluidized bed reactor technology. It has several facilities, including one that opened last year in China.

“With the investment, TSMC intends to leverage Motech’s established platform to accelerate our time to market, better evaluate opportunities along the solar value chain, and further formulate our overall solar strategy,” said Rick Tsai, president of TSMC’s new business unit, in a statement.

“TSMC’s technology leadership and global management expertise would add significant value to Motech, as we strengthen supply chain integration and improve our operational efficiency,” stated Simon Tsuo, Motech chairman/CEO.

TSMC’s solar PV plans have been — ahem — crystallizing over the past few months. This summer TSMC brought back former leader Morris Chang to retake the helm (from Tsai) and expand its leading-edge semiconductor technology out into the world, particularly into LEDs and solar energy, creating up to $2B in nonfoundry business by 2018. Even before that, though the foundry had been rumored to be exploring PV inroads, including possible investments in domestic solar firms. More recently, in October TSMC reportedly altered and resubmitted a proposal for a site in the Central Taiwan Science Park to be centered on PV project, and was on the hunt for new employees, particularly those with CIGS experience.

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