GT Advanced Technologies Buys Hazelwood-Based Confluence Solar

Confluence Solar, Inc. is a developer of an innovative continuous czochralski growth process, a method of crystal growth used to obtain single crystals of semiconductors, metals, salts and synthetic gemstones.

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (GT) has purchased 3-year-old Hazelwood-based Confluence Solar Inc.

The pricetag? It's said to be steep--$60 million cash paid to Confluence Solar’s shareholders at closing. GT will pay an additional $20 million cash earn-outs payable upon the achievement of certain financial and technical milestones through its fiscal year 2013, according to Business Wire press release.

Confluence Solar is a privately held company, and the developer of a technology that enables the production of high efficiency monocrystalline solar ingots, which is expected to lower production costs. In layman's terms--manufacture furnaces that more efficiently make solar cells.

"This acquisition adds an innovative technology to GT’s (high efficiency silicon based photovoltaic (PV) cells) product portfolio, that is well aligned with our strategy to rapidly innovate and develop next-generation crystal growth solutions,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Advanced Technologies president and CEO. “PV manufacturers are focusing more closely on increasing cell efficiency as a way to lower the cost of solar energy."

In 2008 after landing a $12 million venture capital investment, and some initial tax credits from the state of Missouri,  Confluence Solar announced that it had decided to build a $200 million manufacturing facility in East Tennessee. The New Hampshire Business review states that decision didn't sit too well in Missouri.

Still plans moved on and Confluence Solar was in the process planning to build a $200 million plant in Clinton, Tenn. This was intended to produce silicon ingots for solar cells, according to Knoxvillbiz.com, but those plan have been abandoned due to the sale.

Jeff Nestel-Patt, GT's director of marketing and communications told the Knoxville news outlet that instead, GT proposes to develop a pilot plant for testing, researching and developing Confluence Solar's technology near the Hazelwood headquarters loacted near the Commerce Center at Park 370.


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