- LCT unveils plans to establish semiconductor and solar manufacturing operations in Rochester, New York
- Construction is scheduled to start in Q2/2023 to build a demonstration line and expand it by the end of year 1
- It will produce machines for producing solar ingots and wafers, including wire saws and polishing equipment
The solar PV value chain is slowly but gradually coming around in the US thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as Linton Crystal Technologies (LCT) has announced plans to manufacture semiconductor and solar manufacturing equipment for ingots and wafers in the country.
The Rochester, New York headquartered company plans to produce Czochralski (CZ) furnaces for monocrystalline silicon ingots, both semiconductor and solar grade, and the machines for producing solar ingots and wafers, including wire saws and polishing equipment.
Initial plans include setting upfab with construction scheduled to begin in Q2/2023, with a demonstration line and build production capacity of 1-2 GW annual volume by the end of year 1. “This will grow the company’s workforce to more than 75 employees. Linton’s goal is to exceed 2008 employment numbers, when the company had nearly 200 employees, at its New York factory by the end of year 2,” it said.
Touting itself as the 1st company to return this technology to the US, LCT says it used to manufacture in Rochester earlier producing wire saws and later adding CZ crystal pullers to its portfolio.
“As a US company with Chinese ownership, Linton Technologies Group, the geopolitical issues have been difficult to navigate. Our company used to manufacture in Rochester and we’re eager to get back to the United States,” said President and COO of LCT, Todd Barnum.
He added, “The IRA and CHIPS Act have created the pathway for manufacturing investment to fulfill the need for US-made products. We’re going to meet that demand and we have the expertise to scale rapidly.”
LCT’s product portfolio includes furnaces that use CZ process to create monocrystalline silicon ingots, single- and multi-wire saws and silicon wafer processing equipment to prepare flat silicon wafer for solar cells, among others. According to the company, it originated in Rochester in 1952 as a wire saw manufacturer, Hamco, and through a series of investments turned into Kayex, a manufacturer of CZ crystal pullers, also used for solar ingots. Linton said it has been the exclusive owner of Kayex technology since 2013 (the IP resides with LCT in the US).
LCT’s parent company Dalian Linton is a leading crystallization and wafering equipment manufacturer to the solar industry in China. The announcement that its US subsidiary wants to restart manufacturing comes at a time the US is working on strengthening an export ban on certain semiconductor equipment to China, while the Chinese government is discussing an export ban for key solar wafer production equipment, which China fully controls today (see China To Curb Export Of Solar PV Technology Equipment?).
LCT’s move would make life easier for many companies that, attracted by the IRA, are looking into solar manufacturing investments in the US. Earlier South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions said it will bring integrated PV production complex in Georgia, US with capacity to produce ingots, wafers, cells and modules, aiming for a total US capacity of 8.4 GW by 2024 (see Hanwha Solutions Planning 8.4 GW US Production Capacity). Another company with upstream solar manufacturing plans in the US is SPI Energy, which announced in Aug. 2022 that it signed a letter of intent to secure solar wafer manufacturing equipment for 1.5 GW capacity, and increase capacity to 3 GW by 2024 (see Solar Wafer Production in US Soon).