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SunCube licensee tops up Emcore's cell orders

The controversial CPV system is in production, and the company that's making it has just signed up for an additional $28 million of GaAs cells and receivers.

Emcore is selling directly to a customer of its biggest III-V solar cell client, after that record deal with Green and Gold Energy attracted adverse speculation.

The GaAs company has now signed a $28 million supply agreement for cells and receivers with ES System, a South Korea-based concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) system maker.

On May 5, Emcore said that under the agreement 70 MW of receivers are to be deployed in fully licensed and funded solar farms. ES System s order includes an initial deposit to ensure production priority, scheduling all cells to be delivered within 24 months.

Emcore cites feed-in tariffs in South Korea of 677 won ($0.67) per kWh for cells deployed before October 2008 as driving a strong demand for photovoltaics in the country.

ES System licenses “SunCube” concentrator technology from Australian company Green and Gold Energy (GGE), which previously placed an order for $39 million worth of GaAs cells and receivers from Emcore. GGE markets the SunCube as a robust but lightweight, manufacturable photovoltaic system with in-built solar tracking capability.

That license costs up to $350,000 in exchange for exclusive national manufacturing rights, and also allows ES System to source Emcore receivers via GGE. According to GGE s CEO Greg Watson the company has received $6 million in similar fees from its network of SunCube International Group licensees so far.

On March 18, Emcore s relationship with GGE "“ and Watson in particular "“ was one element of the company s business attacked by a financial blog called Citron Research. On the same day Emcore's share price plummeted from $9.33 to $6.11, prompting Emcore to issue a statement refuting the posting as “inaccurate and seriously misleading”.

Undaunted by the attack on his credibility, Watson is now quoting a delivery time of 60 days for the first 200 SunCubes ordered "“ after receipt of a 40 percent downpayment.

“The Koreans are in production and India will start in two months,” Watson told compoundsemiconductor.net. “Australia will be shipping in three months with the Spanish and Israel following very soon.”

On the basis of GGE s figures each SunCube costs around $1000, on a sliding scale depending on order volume, and can deliver 322 W peak output under standard test conditions.

“In terms of annual kWh produced, these prices are world best and rate the SunCube as the lowest cost producer of solar kWh that can be bought,” Watson claimed.

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