Monday, June 15, 2009

Wondering about Intel.

The New york Times told us the other day that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is planning to enter the Solar Cell market.

What I want to know is, where is Intel? These guys know the Silicon Wafer as well as anyone else. Are they passing up an opportunity?

Wait, looking up "Intel Solar" brings up SpectraWatt. SpectraWatt was formed by Intel in June '08. Their plan was to build a manufacturing plant in Oregon to start deliveries in mid-2009. In January of '09, SpecraWatt halted construction of their Oregon plant, and on April 9th of this year they announced their intention to build a headquarters and manufacturing plant in New York.

Ok, so deals went sour in Oregon, I don't know the details, can't say much about that, but still, I gotta say WTF? Come on, INTC. Do you REALLY want into this market? After a year with pretty much nothing to show for it, you are now planning to manufacture 60MW by 2010, and 120MW annually within a couple of years after that. Even if the Implementation had gone flawlessly, this tiny output demonstrates a lack of vision, at the very least. SpectraWatt will have to do better than this if they want to compete in this market.

So, it looks then like Intel has actually moved to enter the Solar Market. They've just done so in a half-assed noncommital sort of way.

Of course, they've got cash. Maybe, like HP, they've discovered that the bottom line doesn't necessarily support building new manufacturing plants in the US. They could buy a heck of alot of Asian production, all in one fell swoop. There won't be too many opportunities to buy into the Asian industry on the cheap, though.

My guess then is that they're not actually idiots; they know what's up, and they're just being sneaky. It's too bad, though, that this Leading US Company is taking so long to get into the game.

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