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SEMATECH: A Model for Advancing Solar Technology

May 24, 2011 - 11:22am

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SEMATECH brings 14 companies together to help them share and collaborate in their most expensive and difficult manufacturing development projects.

One of the hardest parts for start-up companies producing an emerging technology is the cost to test and develop more efficient manufacturing processes -- and to win the clean energy race, energy technologies not only need to be invented in America, but made in America too.

That's why consortiums like SEMATECH in Albany, New York, are so important.  

Back in the '80s and '90s, SEMATECH breathed new life into the semiconductor industry by bringing 14 companies together and helping them share and collaborate in their most expensive and difficult manufacturing development projects. Within 10 years, the U.S. semiconductor industry grew by 16%.

Now SEMATECH is using that same experience and strategy to help improve and bring down costs in the photovoltaic manufacturing process, which is critical to advancing solar energy technologies in this country.

And so last month when Secretary Chu announced more than $110 million to improve solar photovoltaic manufacturing in the U.S., much of the program was modeled on SEMATECH's example.

Some colleagues from the Department of Energy recently traveled to Albany to meet with key players at SEMATECH and hear more about how their consortium works and what role they see themselves playing in the  Department’s SunShot initiative.

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