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Good news for IQE as CPV materials qualifies for high-volume production

Solar Junction successfully completes the process transfer and full qualification of IQE's epitaxial materials

IQE plc has announced that its material has been qualified for production-ready, high-volume manufacturing by its strategic partner Solar Junction Corporation ("Solar Junction").

Solar Junction, a developer of high efficiency multi-junction solar energy cells for the CPV market, has successfully completed the process transfer and full qualification of IQE's epitaxial materials for high-volume manufacturing.

This qualification is a major milestone which has required extensive validation of IQE's manufacturing processes, product quality and reliability in delivering material with cutting edge solar efficiency.

Solar Junction is now production-ready and at an advanced stage in qualifying its cells with the leading global CPV systems manufacturers. Solar Junction expects to receive initial high-volume orders over the coming months. 

As a result of the joint development agreement in February between Amonix and Solar Junction, Amonix, the leading worldwide installer of CPV systems, is already testing solar cells produced with IQE epitaxy and observing improved performance.

Jeff Allen, Vice President of Business Development at Solar Junction, said: "The qualification of our production-ready 42% median efficiency solar cells produced by IQE and our new fabrication line could not have come at a better time for Solar Junction and the CPV market.

"Solar Junction's key customers are highly impressed with the 2+% cell efficiency advantage over our competitor's cells, which translates to an estimated reduction in total installed CPV system cost of approximately 5%.

"The rapid adoption of our technology in the U.S., China and Middle East will propel Solar Junction to market leadership in CPV."

A recent independent industry report estimates the target market for CPV is expected to exceed 5GW over the next few years, with more than 750MW to be installed by 2015. 

Initial deployment will be in Southwestern U.S., Southern Europe around the Mediterranean, Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), Southern Africa, Chile, Australia and China.

Dr. Vijit Sabnis, Chief Executive of Solar Junction said: "The successful qualification is attributable to the close partnership of the team responsible, from Solar Junction and IQE, over the past twelve months.

"The IQE epitaxial materials are fabricated at Solar Junction's 4" and 6" production facility, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SUNPATH contract, in Silicon Valley.  Solar cells are currently out for independent third-party verification of efficiency results with performance anticipated to be equivalent to that produced by our internal pilot line."

Solar Junction's successful qualification continues to demonstrate the value of its dilute nitride materials, which uniquely provides CPV system manufacturers the foundation to deliver the most efficient conversion of solar to electrical energy. In October 2012, Solar Junction achieved a World record 44% efficiency for a standard 3J cell at a concentration of 942 suns.

Dr. Drew Nelson, IQE Chief Executive, said: "The successful qualification of IQE's production scale epiwafers for CPV marks a key milestone in bringing Solar Junction's advanced technology to market. What has been particularly impressive is that median efficiencies from our large volume 4" and 6" platforms are at least as good as having been previously achieved in small scale demonstrations. 

"The performance and manufacturing advantages of Solar Junction's 3J solar cell technology will accelerate adoption of CPV and position IQE to become the key epiwafer supplier to the global utility scale CPV solar market.

"These achievements clearly demonstrate the success of our strategy to invest in Solar Junction and enter into an exclusive, worldwide license for the technology."
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