Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Solar Bankruptcy

Another Solar Bankruptcy.

On November 14, 2012, GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GTAT), with headquarters in Nashua, NH,
"announced it has acquired certain capital assets and intellectual property of Twin Creeks Technologies, Inc., a privately owned company that has developed an ion implanter technology that enables the production of lower cost thin substrates with minimal material (kerf) loss. The assets were purchased from Twin Creeks’ lenders in a private sale for approximately $10 million and royalties that will be based on future sales. 
"GT expects that Twin Creeks’ unique Hyperion™ ion implanter technology will have broad application in the production of engineered substrates for power semiconductors and thin wafers for solar applications. In addition, GT expects to pursue the development of thin sapphire laminates for use in applications such as cover and touch screen devices. The Hyperion ion implanter has the potential to minimize, or in some cases eliminate, the need for wafering saws, which would significantly lower the cost of production. 
"The assets acquired by GT relate primarily to the Hyperion ion implanter as well as Twin Creeks’ portfolio of approximately 30 granted US patents and over 70 pending US and international patent applications."
GT Advanced Technologies is a leading global provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other industrial markets. Its manufacturing equipment and services support the growth of the Solar and LED industries and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy.

We reported in Way Better Patents’ USPTO Green Tech Pilot Program Discovery and Analysis Report that Twin Creeks had not received any patents from the program. This was correct for the time period covered by Way Better Patents’ report – patents granted through the close of the US Patent Office program on February 16, 2012. Three weeks later, on March 6, Twin Creeks was issued its first (and thus far, only) Green Tech Program patent. US 8,129,613, “Photovoltaic cell comprising a thin lamina having low base resistivity and method of making,” was granted to Mohamed M. Hilali (Sunnyvale, CA) and Christopher J. Petti (Mountain View, CA), and provides for,
"Fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina may require additional processing after the semiconductor lamina is bonded to a receiver. To minimize high-temperature steps after bonding, the p-n junction is formed at the back of the cell, at the bonded surface. In some embodiments, the front surface of the semiconductor lamina is not doped or is locally doped using low-temperature methods. The base resistivity of the photovoltaic cell may be reduced, allowing a front surface field to be reduced or omitted."
As with other now-bankrupt cleantech companies, Twin Creeks received substantial loan assistance, in this case $50 million from the State of Mississippi, plus $4 million in manufacturing site infrastructure improvements from the state and city of Senatobia, MS.