News Article

Orders For Solar Cells Kick In At Emcore

With customers ordering concentrator solar systems for both satellite and terrestrial power applications, Emcore looks set to enjoy strong revenue increases over the coming quarters.

Triple-junction solar cell and fiber-optic component maker Emcore will soon be reaping the financial reward after winning a host of orders for solar energy concentrator systems.

In the satellite sector, Emcore has won an extension to an existing contract worth an additional $36 million, bringing its total value to a whopping $76 million.

And things are starting to take off in the terrestrial solar sector, too. One European customer has given Emcore the go-ahead to begin solar cell production for a new system, while another client has just been selected to build a concentrator unit that will produce 6 MW-8 MW of power when deployed next year.

Emcore should start to see revenue from these terrestrial design wins ramping up in about one year's time, with further orders for similar systems expected to continue during the intervening months.

The company has also signed a deal with Sandia National Laboratories, with whom Emcore will co-develop utility-scale solar systems that should eventually supply the existing electrical power grid.

On the fiber-optic front, things are also looking promising. The accelerating deployment of fiber-to-the-premises network links by leading telco Verizon is boosting revenue for this part of the business, although Emcore's profit margins were impacted in the recent quarter because of the ramp-up costs that this entailed.

Analyst John Lau from investment house Jefferies and Company now estimates that Emcore's annual revenue will rise sharply from around $166 million in fiscal 2006, which ends on September 30, to just over $200 million in the following year.

Those figures do not include the company's electronic materials division, which is set to be sold to UK epiwafer specialist IQE pending a shareholder vote on the acquisition due August 15.

Of the projected 2007 total, Lau reckons that terrestrial solar applications will account for $33 million and other photovoltaic sales will be worth $50 million.

For the quarter that ended June 30, Emcore posted total sales of $42 million, up 26 per cent on the same period last year and slightly up sequentially.

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