Intel Spins Off $50M Solar Company: SpectraWatt To Open Facility in Oregon
Looks like Intel is officially entering the renewable-energy space. The Santa Clara, CA-based chipmaker, which has major operations in the Northwest, has announced that it is spinning out an independent solar-energy company called SpectraWatt (an awful name, can we all agree). Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) said in a statement that the company was formed “to spur new development and demand for renewable energy sources.”
Intel Capital is leading a $50 million round of financing in SpectraWatt, joined by Cogentrix Energy (a wholly owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group), PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund, and Solon AG.
SpectraWatt will build photovoltaic cells for solar module suppliers. It will focus on advancing the technology while reducing manufacturing costs, which has always been the issue with solar cells. (We’ll be following closely to see how they do there—a Moore’s Law equivalent for solar, anyone?) The company’s manufacturing and technology development facility is expected to be up and running in Oregon, presumably near Portland, later this year. Its first products are supposed to ship in mid-2009.