Natcore Technology to Acquire Vanguard SolarMay 13, 2010
The acquisition will expand Natcore's reach into advanced thin-film solar cells and carbon nanotube-based sensors.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA /Marketwire/ -- Natcore Technology Inc. is pleased to announce that, further to its news release dated March 31, 2010, it has executed a formal share purchase agreement with all of the security holders of Vanguard Solar Inc. Closing of the acquisition of Vanguard Solar Inc. is expected to occur shortly, subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
Vanguard has been focused on the development of a flexible, thin-film photovoltaic material capable of silicon solar cell–like efficiency performance, potentially at one-tenth the manufacturing cost and one-twentieth the capital investment.
Vanguard has used a proprietary chemical-bath process similar to Natcore's liquid phase deposition (LPD) technology, although Vanguard has grown II-VI compound semiconductor thin films on carbon nanotubes at room temperature and ambient pressure, while Natcore has thus far concentrated on growing silicon dioxide films on silicon substrates.
The first-generation products from Vanguard's method could produce 15%–16% efficiencies at module costs of 60¢ to 70¢ per watt. It is anticipated that second-generation technology could achieve 20% efficiencies at even lower costs per watt. The investment for production facilities is projected as low as $10 million to $15 million per 100-megawatt to 150-megawatt production capability, as compared with current costs of as much as $250 million for standard solar-cell production facilities. Vanguard's production equipment would be designed for insertion into existing roll-to-roll film-coating lines of the sort that have been displaced by the emergence of digital photography. All production materials are widely available and dramatically cheaper than silicon and other thin-film systems. If successfully developed, the process would enable a very cost-efficient production capability in large-scale facilities.
Vanguard has achieved proof-of-concept in small-area devices and is ready to move to a validation stage, during which the company will demonstrate larger-area working devices at the targeted efficiencies expressed above. Vanguard has two pending patents covering its solar cell development, as well as a broad range of photodetectors and optical sensors. Among the applications for the latter are manufacturing process monitoring and controls, homeland security surveillance, and biomedical sensors for diagnostics and testing.
As consideration for the purchase of Vanguard, Natcore has agreed to issue Vanguard shareholders a total of 373,606 common shares, subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
In conjunction with the acquisition of Vanguard, Natcore entered into an agreement with a firm performing services for Vanguard to pay legal fees incurred by Vanguard through the issuance of 120,075 common shares of Natcore and an agreement with a firm providing services to Natcore in relation to the Vanguard acquisition through the issuance of 20,000 common shares, all of which is subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
Natcore Technology Inc. is the exclusive licensee, from Rice University, of a thin-film growth technology enabling room-temperature growth of various silicon oxides on silicon wafers in a liquid phase deposition (LPD) process. Although the implications of this discovery for semiconductors and fiber optics are significant and wide-ranging, the technology has immediate and compelling applications in the solar sector. Specifically, the Company's LPD process could enable silicon solar cell manufacturers to significantly reduce manufacturing costs and increase throughput, and has the potential to allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells with double the power output of today's most efficient devices.
Having been independently tested and verified by one of the world's most respected science and technology laboratories, Natcore's technology is now in the process of being commercialized. Our goal: to make stand-alone solar energy competitive with conventional power generation.
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