May 5, 2008 — SVTC Technologies, an independent semiconductor process-development foundry offering MEMS production services, has leased more than 85,000 sq. ft. in San Jose, Calif., to launch a photovoltaics (PV) development center. And, the company has hired solar industry veteran Kurt Laetz to head up the new initiative, which will be called SVTC Solar.
“With SVTC Solar, we intend to provide the photovoltaic industry with the same kind of development alternative and business model that SVTC offers the semiconductor industry — where SVTC successfully enables cost-effective commercialization of new technologies,” said Dave Bergeron, SVTC’s chief executive officer. “The solar industry urgently needs a new support infrastructure to match the explosion in development efforts by new and existing solar manufacturers. Together with a number of high-profile partners, SVTC Solar will provide the most complete set of capabilities available in the U.S. and will compete with Fraunhofer in Germany and proprietary centers in Japan.”
SVTC Solar and its PV development center will initially serve an estimated 10 PV companies — with an expectation that this number will grow in the next three years to between 25 and 30 large and small companies engaged in silicon and gallium arsenide-based PV development.
SVTC has leased a building in San Jose that will house SVTC Solar’s PV development center as well as a number of partners offering complementary services. Together, they promise to support a wide range of development needs, from equipment manufacturers to reliability, testing and certification services. Of the 85,000 sq. ft., some 30,000 sq. ft. will be class 10,000 clean room space and another 20,000 sq. ft. is suitable for lab space.
Kurt Laetz, formerly of XsunX, will develop services and capabilities specifically tuned to companies in the solar industry. Laetz, SVTC Solar’s new Managing Director, Strategic Marketing, spent a decade marketing thin-film deposition technologies to semiconductor manufacturers in Asia, Europe and North America.
“I believe SVTC Solar will be a crucial catalyst for the solar industry, and I am very excited to be joining this venture at its inception,” said Laetz. “The photovoltaic community is hungry for the type of development services that SVTC delivers so effectively.”