Applied Materials, Inc., the leading equipment supplier to the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, announced today that GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., China's largest producer of polysilicon wafers for solar PV applications in 2010*, has placed a significant order for Applied's HCT B5TM wire saws.
The systems, which represent more than 2.5 gigawatts of wafering capacity, are scheduled to begin shipping to GCL-Poly's production facilities in Suzhou, Changzhou, and Taicang, China, in the current calendar quarter of this year.
"GCL-Poly continues to execute on its manufacturing capacity plans in order to meet the increasing demand for high quality polysilicon wafers," said Zhu Gong Shan, executive director, chairman and CEO of GCL-Poly. "We are pleased to have Applied Materials join us in our efforts to help our customers bring down the cost-per-watt of solar cells."
"We are excited to have the opportunity to play a role in GCL-Poly's growth strategy and are committed to providing the technology and cost-effective production capability to enable its success," said Dr. Mark Pinto, executive vice president and general manager of Applied's Energy and Environmental Solutions Group. "This important order adds to the growing momentum of the HCT B5 system in the marketplace and validates the unique differentiation of our proven wire saw technology."
In addition to advanced equipment, GCL-Poly has purchased Applied E3TM automation software for process monitoring and control, and extended maintenance support to optimize system output and reduce costs. This contract represents one of the most significant combined investments in equipment automation software and support services by any crystalline silicon solar manufacturer to date.
"The GCL order is a testimony to the HCT B5 system's compelling economic advantages for customers: higher annual output and lower overall cost-per-wafer than any wire saw available today," said Jean-Maurice Imbert, vice president and general manager of Applied's Precision Wafering Systems division. "We look forward to working with leading customers like GCL-Poly to continue to drive down the cost of solar power with our advanced wafering systems."