Spire renames subsidiary to capitalize on solar concentrator market

Jan. 2, 2008
January 2, 2008, Bedford, MA--Bandwidth Semiconductor, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spire Corporation, is now Spire Semiconductor, effective January 1, 2008.

January 2, 2008, Bedford, MA--Bandwidth Semiconductor, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spire Corporation, is now Spire Semiconductor, effective January 1, 2008. Bandwidth provides Spire with crystalline silicon solar-cell process technology and has re-entered the fast-growing, gallium arsenide (GaAs) concentrator solar cell market. According to the company, the name change will better align Bandwidth with Spire's overall solar industry focus.

"GaAs solar cell activities are growing at Spire Semiconductor and are supplementing revenue growth from its portfolio of defense, biomedical and consumer products," said Roger Little, Spire's chairman and chief executive officer. "This operation has held a pioneering position in the field and in the future we intend to place even more emphasis on the solar concentrator cell market. As Spire Semiconductor, this operation will be better integrated with Spire Corporation and share Spire's vision as a world leader in the terrestrial solar energy industry."

Bandwidth Semiconductor was formed in 1999 when Spire sold its optoelectronics division to Methode Electronics. Methode Electronics included Bandwidth in its Stratos Lightwave spin off in 2000. Proceeds from the offering were used in part to relocate the operation, build extensive, state-of-the-art clean rooms and add new semiconductor fabrication equipment. Spire subsequently reacquired Bandwidth in 2003 from Stratos Lightwave when the firm's focus shifted from telecommunications.

Spire's original optoelectronics division was an early pioneer in using gallium arsenide for both concentrator solar arrays and space system solar cells. Spire developed and fabricated GaAs solar cells with record levels of efficiency as early as 1985. A compound semiconductor, gallium arsenide possesses unique properties for use in solar concentrator cells. Compared with conventional silicon cells, GaAs cells produce higher levels of photovoltaic efficiency and are relatively unaffected by the extreme heat produced in concentrator solar arrays. Gallium arsenide is also very resistant to radiation damage, which along with its high efficiency, makes it ideally suited for outer space power applications.

During its transitional periods, Bandwidth Semiconductor retained its scientific and technical personnel and maintained its solar cell intellectual property portfolio. It has recently been awarded research contracts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy and the Air Force to develop advanced GaAs cells for both terrestrial and outer space applications.

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