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Soitec breaks into solar with Concentrix acquisition

Posted: 16 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Soitec solar venture? photovoltaic? solar cell?

The Soitec Group has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Concentrix Solar GmbH, a provider of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar systems. With the acquisition, Soitec enters the solar industry, capturing value through the system level and expanding its revenue base as worldwide demand for CPV systems is expected to boom in the coming years.

Soitec's technologies in engineered substrates are key to improving solar cell performance and strongly complement Concentrix's expertise in high-efficiency CPV systems for solar power plants. The combination delivers an attractive and competitive value proposition to satisfy the growing needs of renewable energy. The transaction also includes access to the high-efficiency concentrator solar cell technologies from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. At the same time, Soitec has signed a strategic technology alliance with both the Fraunhofer ISE and the CEA-Leti.

Based in Freiburg, Germany, Concentrix was founded in 2005 as a spin-off company of the Fraunhofer ISE. Soitec has acquired circa 80 percent of the shares, valuing 100 percent of Concentrix at about $80.6 million. The remaining 20 percent of the shares continue to be owned by the Fraunhofer ISE and the company's founders and senior management. Upon closing of the transaction, Concentrix will retain its staff and will operate within a new PV business unit of the Soitec, which is expected to be significantly accretive to the total Soitec's growth.

CPV is a very promising technology in a rapidly expanding global market for solar energy, offering a breakthrough and competitive solution for large power plants in high irradiation countries. Concentrix's patented solution, which is proven in various power plants and demo installations in Spain, Italy, Korea and the United States, concentrates sunlight onto a small area of high-efficiency solar cells, reducing the need for costly materials and increasing system efficiency.

"The Concentrix solution, which we believe is the best for solar farms and therefore industrial production of solar-sourced electricity, has exceptional synergy with Soitec technologies," said Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve, president and CEO of Soitec. "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. We plan to become an active player in the city of Freiburg both through Concentrix industrial activities and through the long term partnership between Soitec and the Fraunhofer ISE. 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."


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