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Intel helps form $50m solar-energy company

SpectraWatt to produce solar cells from 2009

Intel will transfer all technology related to converting sunlight to energy into SpectraWatt, which will develop solar energy technology and produce solar cells, and will lead its first round of investment. The investment will take place by the end of June.

SpectraWatt will break ground on a manufacturing and technology development centre in Oregon later this year, and its first product shipments are expected by the middle of 2009. The new company will focus on advanced solar-cell technologies as well as improving manufacturing technology to lower the cost of photovoltaic energy.

Currently, the cost of solar energy is twice that of retail electricity, Intel said. Reducing the cost of solar energy should ensure continued industry growth of 30 to 40 percent annually, according to the chip maker.

The new CEO of SpectraWatt will be Andrew Wilson, former general manager of Intel's New Business Initiatives group. An Intel statement quotes Wilson as saying the goal of SpectraWatt is to move toward long-term national energy independence.


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