Archive for February, 2014

Polysilicon Market Headed for a Shortage in 2014?

Posted: February 28, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Solar News
Tags: , , ,

Matt Margolis – 2/27/14

 

Courtesy of greentechmedia  it appears as though polysilicon shortage may arrive before the end of 2014.  The magic number mentioned by various sources is that a polysilicon spot price of $25 per kilogram will trigger expansions.    One other interesting point is greentech is coming up with a base forecast of 42 GW for demand versus Solarbuzz at 49GW.  Greentech, however does have a high supply estimate of 50GW, which will lead to a “market would be grossly undersupplied, and significantly more manufacturing capacity than we currently forecast would have to be added to meet demand”.  If you believe Solarbuzz current forecast of 49GW and greentech’s high demand case of 50GW.  It does sound like polysilicon orders will be flying in before the end of 2014

Some key excerpts are below from greentechmedia.

2014 Supply-Demand: The Base Case

After having accounted for likely expansions in 2014, a clearer picture of supply-demand for 2014 emerges, as shown in the chart below, where additional supply comes on-line to meet expectations of strong demand growth. Under this scenario, available supply for wafers, cells and module exceeds demand by 30 percent to 45 percent, implying a stable and balanced market. It is only in the case of polysilicon, where excess supply is just 13 percent, that we appear to be headed for a real supply shortage: this is the driving factor behind GTM’s previously expressed view that polysilicon pricing will climb back to levels of $25 per kilogram by the end of the year.

Screenshot - 2_27_2014 , 9_14_39 PM

2014 Supply-Demand: The High Case

Before rushing to conclusions, it is worth remembering a final point. Much of the analysis above ultimately comes down to our 2014 end-demand estimate of 42 gigawatts. But time and time again, early-year PV market sizing forecasts have proven to be conservative in the final analysis.

As with previous years, the forecast risk for 2014 seems to lie very much on the upside, with GTM’s high-case installation estimate for 2014 in the neighborhood of 50 gigawatts. In this case, the market would be grossly undersupplied, and significantly more manufacturing capacity than we currently forecast would have to be added to meet demand. Given China’s new PV regulations, still-prevailing constraints on capital spending and equipment lead times, it is unclear if suppliers would be able to react in time to meet such an upswing in demand, especially in the case of polysilicon.

Source: GTM Research Global PV Competitive Intelligence Tracker

In conclusion, there are definite signs that at long last, balance between supply and demand in the PV market has not just been restored, but is beginning to trend in the opposite direction from the past few years — with the very real possibility of a supply shortage in the offing. Once again, it is a reminder that when it comes to the PV market, the winds of change can blow very quickly.

 

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A few days ago I gave everyone a spoiler of GT’s recent solar cell development plans as laid out from their recent patents along with my interpretation of the patent.  I have now found a solar cell stacking method that could revolutionize modern solar day efficiency ratings when used in partnership with GT’s super slim solar cell developments.

A recent article published on 2/22/14 by the economist  details some ground breaking work that has emerged out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

 

John Rogers, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is one. The cells he has devised (and which are being made, packaged into panels and deployed in pilot projects by Semprius, a firm based in North Carolina) are indeed better. By themselves, he told this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, they convert 42.5% of sunlight. Even when surrounded by the paraphernalia of a panel they manage 35%. Suitably tweaked, Dr Rogers reckons, their efficiency could rise to 50%. Their secret is that they are actually not one cell, but four, stacked one on top of another.

 

Below is my previous detail of GT management’s cliff hanger from Monday’s  conference call which relates directly to Hyperion and Solar Cells:

we have a deployed a new technology that we expect will significantly impact the economics of producing solar cells and modules. This technology was developed and comes out of a research operation we established in the Bay Area over a year ago to focus on advancing the state of the art and the design and assembly of solar cells and modules. We look forward to talking with you about this development on our March ‘14 webcast.

Well here is your spoiler alert:  Hyperion is going to be  a “disruptive technology” and a “game changer” that can and will be applied across all of GTAT’s platforms in the foreseeable future and for the foreseeable future.   During the March 14, 2014 webcast GT management will most certainly focus some of it’s attention on the design and assembly of solar cells and modules.  I’ve done my best to translate the patents so everyone can understand the key takeaway.  I’m sure the sci-fi team at GT Advanced Technologies will give a cleaner explanation but this is my best shot!  Essentially GT has patented a new process that likely creates the lowest cost, thinnest and most efficient solar cell technology on the market   The process to create this amazing innovation begins by leverage GT’s Hyperion technology (which is protected by over 50 patents) to fire hydrogen ions against a solar cell to create super thin solar cells that can be used in PV technology (solar panel).   The super thin solar cells are more efficient due to design (cutting angle) allowing them to improve efficiency.  They are lower cost due to Hyperion exfoliating abilities which allow for one of if not the thinnest solar cell produced in the industry (I hope the analysts ask if TG doesn’t tell us anyways).  Further cost reductions are found because the Hyperion method of exfoliating the solar cells reduces waste that results from through traditional “kerf” methods.

Obscure Analyst’s Spoiler Alert Takeaway: GTAT may have just come up the most efficient solar cells available on the market today due to the degree of the cut plane of the solar cells which allows for more light absorption than traditional methods.  The cost of the solar cells is greatly reduced because Hyperion allows up to a 2 for 1 benefit on thinness (current benefit might be 1.75 to 1) but it was 2:1 when GTAT acquired Twin Creeks in 2012.   Lastly, the method of using Hyperion versus traditional kerf methods of cutting solar cells will greatly reduce the amount waste, which will lead to further cost savings.  If I had to put names on who they are partnering with I would go with Yingli Green Energy or Trina Solar, who finished 2013 as #1 and #2 in PV supply.  Below are two of GTAT’s  key patents related to the growth and bonding of thin lamina.

 
EPITAXIAL GROWTH ON THIN LAMINA 

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present invention and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., photovoltaic cells, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use.

[0002] Referring to FIG. 1A, in embodiments of Sivaram et al., a semiconductor donor wafer 20 is implanted through first surface 10 with one or more species of gas ions, for example hydrogen and/or helium ions. The implanted ions define a cleave plane 30 within the semiconductor donor wafer. As shown in FIG. 1B, donor wafer 20 is affixed at a first surface 10 to receiver 60. Cleaving is most easily achieved by heating, for example to temperatures of 500 degrees C. or more. Referring to FIG. 1C, lamina 40 is heated and cleaves, or exfoliates, from donor wafer 20 at cleave plane 30, creating second surface 62. It has been found that the step of implanting to define the cleave plane may cause damage to the crystalline lattice of the monocrystalline donor wafer. This damage, if unrepaired, may impair cell efficiency. A relatively high-temperature anneal, for example at 900 degrees C., 950 degrees C., or more, will repair most implant damage in the body of the lamina.

[0003] In embodiments of Sivaram et al., additional processing before and after the cleaving step forms a photovoltaic cell comprising semiconductor lamina 40, which is between about 0.2 and about 100 microns thick. In other embodiments of Sivaram et al., lamina 40 may be, for example, between about 0.2-50 microns thick, between about 1-20 microns thick, between about 1-10 microns thick, between about 4-20 microns thick, or between about 5-15 microns thick, though any thickness within the named range is possible. FIG. 1D shows the structure inverted, with receiver 60 at the bottom, as during operation in some embodiments of Sivaram. Receiver 60 may be a discrete receiver element having a maximum width no more than 50 percent greater than that of donor wafer 20, and preferably about the same width, as described in Herner, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/057,265, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina Bonded to a Discrete Receiver Element,” filed on Mar. 27, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present application and hereby incorporated by reference. Alternatively, a plurality of donor wafers may be affixed to a single, larger receiver, and a lamina cleaved from each donor wafer.

0004] In summary, the primary stages of producing a lamina are ion implantation, exfoliation (cleaving the lamina from the donor wafer), and annealing (to repair defects in the lamina).


BONDING OF THIN LAMINA

BACKGROUND

[0002] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,481,845, owned by the assignee of the present disclosure and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., and others, photovoltaic cells and other electronic devices, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use. Methods are needed for handling thin lamina in order to process them into electronic devices.

SUMMARY

[0003] Methods and apparatus are provided for bonding a thin lamina to a carrier, the methods may comprise providing a thin lamina wherein the lamina has a first side and a second side and wherein the first side of the lamina is separably contacted to a support plate; providing a first carrier having a first side and a second side and wherein the first side comprises a layer of adhesive material; contacting the second side of the thin lamina to the first side of the first carrier; fixing the lamina to the first carrier wherein the fixing comprises applying a first application of heat and a first application of pressure to a portion of the lamina and the first carrier; removing the support plate; applying a second application of heat and a second application of pressure to the lamina and the first carrier wherein the second application of heat and the second application pressure promotes an adhesive bond between the lamina and the first carrier and wherein the second application of pressure comprises moving the lamina, the first carrier and the cover sheet between a pair of rollers.

Two additional relevant patents are below

Photovoltaic Cell Comprising A Thin Lamina Having A Rear Junction And Method Of Making 
ASYMMETRIC SURFACE TEXTURING FOR USE IN A PHOTOVOLTAIC CELL AND METHOD OF MAKING 

$gtat recent solar cell development can be a “disruptive” and “game changing” technology when applied in combination with solar cell “stacking” technique. Complete breakdown & analysis is underway from your Obscure Analyst @ http://www.margolismatt.com

Decision Due Soon on Major Saudi PV Contract – GTAT in Full Play

Posted: February 27, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

GT is in the running to win a major Saudi contract PV. News was supposed to come out in 2013. Recent rumblings suggest the “winner” is expected to be announced “soon”.

GT’s CEO made this comment (below) on Monday regarding the Middle East. Did TG tip his hand?

In addition, our opportunities in the Middle East continue to solidify and we remain well positioned on several projects of substantial size

http://www.pv-tech.org/mobile/news/saudi_arabian_polysilicon_plant_contract_bids_in

Updated: Plans to build a fully-integrated PV supply chain within Saudi Arabia on the back of plans that could include 41GW of PV installations by 2032, continued slowly with reports that Idea Polysilicon Company (IPC), have received four bids to build its planned 10,000MT polysilicon plant and ingot/wafer operations.

Centrotherm SiTec, a subsidiary of centrotherm photovoltaics, had previously been selected as IPC’s technology concept partner, while Technip from France was awarded project management contracts. However, IPC told PV Tech that Centrotherm SiTec had only provided a customised technology report on the initial plant feasability.

According to reports the lump sum turnkey (LSTK) EPC bidders included a China/US consortium, Chengda Engineering Corp and US specialists, Poly Plant Project, while Centrotherm SiTec has teamed with Hanwha Engineering & Construction.

A German consortium between hi-tech facility design engineers M+W and equipment specialist Schmid Silicon Technology also bid for the project.

Other major polysilicon equipment specialist, GT Advanced Technologies bid for the project with Samsung Engineering.

The contracts are expected to be signed with winning bidders in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Saudi Arabia is targetting 41GW of PV installations by 2032.

Obscure Analyst Q&A – Contact Form

Posted: February 27, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized

I’m opening up a contact form if anyone has any thoughts, ideas, something you want me to research or anything else you feel is relevant for.  

Question: Do you know the value of the pending Saudi Deal?

Answer: From Q1 2013 call: Looking forward, we’re very encouraged by the MOU that we recently announced with Taiwan-based poly producer Powertec. Powertec expects to commence their next expansion in 2014. Under their schedule, we had expect to begin booking-related orders in the second half of 2014 with revenue contribution in 2015 and beyond. Powertec’s current plans are to add an additional 20,000 metric tons of capacity most likely in several stages. Assuming the project is split into 2 equal phases, we would expect the value of the initial order to be over $100 million.

We also remained involved in a number of Middle East projects and are highly confident of our ability to win a significant portion of this business if the projects move forward. These opportunities are incremental to the Powertec business and could represent an additional $300 million to $500 million of revenue for GT in 2016 and beyond.

Solar Equipment Sales to Boom Again by 2017

Posted: February 27, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Image.

PV magazine covered some recent predictions (1/30/14) from Solar Buzz on Solar Capital Equipment.  The key excerpt is below:

Capital expenditures for equipment suppliers serving the PV manufacturing sector will begin increasing at the start of 2015, NPD Solarbuzz predicts in its latest PV Equipment Quarterly, with PV equipment spending potentially reaching $10 billion in revenues in 2017.

“During 2012 and 2013, solar PV equipment suppliers were confronted by the sharpest downturn ever to hit the sector,” said NPD Solarbuzz Vice President Finlay Colville. “The decline was caused by strong over-capacity that reshaped the entire PV industry in 2012, which resulted in manufacturers’ capital expenditure budgets being put on hold during 2013.”

For 2013, PV equipment spending – including tool revenues from crystalline silicon (c-Si) makers of ingots, wafers, cells, modules and thin-film panels — declined to an eight-year low of $1.73 billion. This drop contrasts sharply with the previous cyclical peak of approximately $13 billion in 2011, according to the report.

The Obscure Analyst’s Takeaway
$10B of capital in 2017 is a lot of money.  GT Advanced Technologies is set to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the solar capital upgrade cycle will be thin film solar technology, which is sometimes referred to as CIGs (Copper indium gallium selenide).  In 2011, Solar Equipment sales peaked at $13B.
GT received PV equipment bookings of $900M in 2010 and $220M in 2011 (average of $560m over 2 years).  On the revenue side  GT recognized PV equipment revenue of $870M in 2010 and $530M in 2011 (average of $700M over 2 years).   GT is better positioned to capture a better market share in the pending increase in solar equipment sales.  It seems reasonable to me that GT’s annual bookings and recognized revenue will be running at $600M by 2016.  GT is expected to recognize only $11M in PV revenue as they work down the backlog from $11M to $0.  $600M of estimated PV sales in 2016 at a 30% gross margin would contribute an incremental $0.55 EPS to GT’s bottom line versus 2014 estimates.  GT guided 2016 at $1.50 minimum.  If GT earned $0.55 from PV equipment in 2016, it would represent 37% of managements total guided EPS of $1.50.  Something is up, the fact check on the math sure seems to contradict GT CEO’s comments (below) that solar will become a much smaller percentage of our business in the coming years,
Solar will continue to be a part of our portfolio, however, as our diversification initiatives get traction, we expect that it will become a smaller percentage of our business in the coming years.
There is only one truth.  GT’s CEO diversification strategy is real, the seeds have been planted and his outlook that solar will be a smaller percentage is accurate and confirmed by my model.  I am modeling 2016 PV equipment sales at $600M and a $0.55 EPS contribution in 2016.  There are only a few ways to reduce the solar % total of overall EPS guidance.  #1 Reducing the solar estimate or #2 increase the base case EPS guidance of $1.50.  I think you know my answer, yes you got it!  GT Management is sandbagging on their overall 2016 EPS estimate by $’s and not cents.
Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings in the next 72 hours.

$GTAT Analysis is Underway

Posted: February 26, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

My promise to the investment community is that I will be providing the most comprehensive top down bottoms up review any investor has ever seen and best yet it will be yours for free!

Stay Tuned

Regards,

Your Obscure Analyst

Full Disclosure: I am Long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings in the next 72 hours

Matt Margolis – 2/25/14

Credit Suisse $18 PT Grade B+ 2015 EPS $1.38 on $1.559B of sales, 2016 EPS $2.12B on $2.122B of sales.  No specifics were provided of product detail but they cited: “normalized earnings of PV, polysilicon, and sapphire businesses with upside from new products”.

UBS $18 PT Grade B- 2015 EPS $1.20 on $1.249B   2016 EPS $1.50 on $1.608B.  Apple sales estimated at $505M in 2014 and $980M in 2015.   2015 total sapphire revenue at $1.055B out of $1.249 (84% of Total Sales).  Estimated Mesa capacity at 1,500 furnaces.

Stifel $12.50-$14.90 PT Grade F 2015 EPS $0.45 on $1.086 sales. 2016 EPS $1.25 EPS on $1.637B sales.  No breakout was given on mix between Apple and other sapphire revenue.  2014 sapphire revenue $0.559B, 2015 sapphire revenue $0.94B and 2016 $1.1B “We view the company’s current product mix supporting $1.25 (2016) and look for the company’s March 15 new product and technology briefing fur further earnings growth drives into 2016”.   Stifel earned their grade, because it’s obvious they haven’t spent any time to dig into GT’s  corporate overview that was published in January 2014 to understand the growth factors for GTAT beyond sapphire.

Canaccord Genuity $21 PT Grade F  2015 EPS $0.50 on $1.109B sales.  2016 EPS $1.52 on $1.887.  Estimated 2,000 furnace capacity for Apple operations. “We reiterate our BUY pm GTAT as we believe the combination of Apple related earnings and the recovery in its LED and Solar business will result in above-consensus earnings growth and multiple expansion.  Canaccord earned their grade, because they failed to do any modeling for 2015.  They expect revenue in Q3 2014 of $324m followed by $264m in Q4 2014.  An annualized run rate of Q4 $264m x 4 is $1.056B versus their full year forecast of $1.109B,which tells me Canaccord assumes no new business coming online in 2015.  Canaccord doesn’t even give GTAT any credit that they will recognize any sizable chunk of their $600m order backlog.

Bank of America $15.50 PT  Grade Double F 2015 EPS $0.70 on $1.086B sales 2016 EPS $1.28 on $1.518B sales.  Bank of America cites that, “GTAT is becoming more of a Sapphire story”.  Bank of America earned their grade, because they failed to understand that GTAT is on it’s way to becoming a fleet of of thoroughbreds and not a “1 trick pony”.  I really wonder if Bank of America has even read the corporate overview or can cite one product GTAT sells besides sapphire.

Obscure Message to the Analyst Community

GT’s management was very clear that 2014 was the year of Apple and execution.  GT’s pipeline is currently $600m strong and very little of this will be booked in 2014.  GT’s management stated that equipment orders would start flying in 2H 2014 and will be ready for revenue recognition at the beginning of 2015.  GT mentioned that one of their customers (OCI) is already restarting their PV expansion project. If the analyst community wants to learn about GTAT’s up and coming products and industries they support perhaps they should try a google search.  The information is readily available and makes for a very interesting late night reading.

Every analyst cited Apple and sapphire as a major driver, but not one of them wanted to get into the Apple product ecosystem to adjust future growth for expanded sapphire usage across the portfolio.  The facility at Mesa is 1.3 million square feet or approximately 52 times greater than GT’s Salem, MA manufacturing facility.  GT’s salem facility held approximately 80-100 furnaces inside, using the same furnace to square foot ratio as Salem the Mesa facility can house between 4,200 and 5,200 furnaces.    Do any of the analysts follow Apple and industry growth projections?  Do the analysts understand the Apple portfolio of products and how GTAT can and will pair Hyperion with sapphire to create sapphire laminates that can be out rolled across Apple’s product portfolios once Hyperion is ready for commercialization in 2015.

The Obscure Analyst’s Analyst Report takeaway :

As an investor I was glad to see upward revisions to GTAT’s target price.  As the Obscure Analyst, I was surprised at how ignorant the analysts are to the markets that GT will begin serving in 2015.  Not one analyst understands GT’s Hyperion technology, that was purchased in November 2012.

GT management left us with this information during Monday’s call which relates directly to Hyperion and Solar Cells:

we have a deployed a new technology that we expect will significantly impact the economics of producing solar cells and modules. This technology was developed and comes out of a research operation we established in the Bay Area over a year ago to focus on advancing the state of the art and the design and assembly of solar cells and modules. We look forward to talking with you about this development on our March ‘14 webcast.

Well here is your spoiler alert:  Hyperion is going to be  a “disruptive technology” and a “game changer” that can and will be applied across all of GTAT’s platforms in the foreseeable future and for the foreseeable future.   During the March 14, 2014 webcast GT management will most certainly focus some of it’s attention on the design and assembly of solar cells and modules.  I’ve done my best to translate the patents so everyone can understand the key takeaway.  I’m sure the sci-fi team at GT Advanced Technologies will give a cleaner explanation but this is my best shot!  Essentially GT has patented a new process that likely creates the lowest cost, thinnest and most efficient solar cell technology on the market   The process to create this amazing innovation begins by leverage GT’s Hyperion technology (which is protected by over 50 patents) to fire hydrogen ions against a solar cell to create super thin solar cells that can be used in PV technology (solar panel).   The super thin solar cells are more efficient due to design (cutting angle) allowing them to improve efficiency.  They are lower cost due to Hyperion exfoliating abilities which allow for one of if not the thinnest solar cell produced in the industry (I hope the analysts ask if TG doesn’t tell us anyways).  Further cost reductions are found because the Hyperion method of exfoliating the solar cells reduces waste that results from through traditional “kerf” methods.

Obscure Analyst’s Spoiler Alert Takeaway: GTAT may have just come up the most efficient solar cells available on the market today due to the degree of the cut plane of the solar cells which allows for more light absorption than traditional methods.  The cost of the solar cells is greatly reduced because Hyperion allows up to a 2 for 1 benefit on thinness (current benefit might be 1.75 to 1) but it was 2:1 when GTAT acquired Twin Creeks in 2012.   Lastly, the method of using Hyperion versus traditional kerf methods of cutting solar cells will greatly reduce the amount waste, which will lead to further cost savings.  If I had to put names on who they are partnering with I would go with Yingli Green Energy or Trina Solar, who finished 2013 as #1 and #2 in PV supply.  Below are two of GTAT’s  key patents related to the growth and bonding of thin lamina.

 
EPITAXIAL GROWTH ON THIN LAMINA 

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present invention and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., photovoltaic cells, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use.

[0002] Referring to FIG. 1A, in embodiments of Sivaram et al., a semiconductor donor wafer 20 is implanted through first surface 10 with one or more species of gas ions, for example hydrogen and/or helium ions. The implanted ions define a cleave plane 30 within the semiconductor donor wafer. As shown in FIG. 1B, donor wafer 20 is affixed at a first surface 10 to receiver 60. Cleaving is most easily achieved by heating, for example to temperatures of 500 degrees C. or more. Referring to FIG. 1C, lamina 40 is heated and cleaves, or exfoliates, from donor wafer 20 at cleave plane 30, creating second surface 62. It has been found that the step of implanting to define the cleave plane may cause damage to the crystalline lattice of the monocrystalline donor wafer. This damage, if unrepaired, may impair cell efficiency. A relatively high-temperature anneal, for example at 900 degrees C., 950 degrees C., or more, will repair most implant damage in the body of the lamina.

[0003] In embodiments of Sivaram et al., additional processing before and after the cleaving step forms a photovoltaic cell comprising semiconductor lamina 40, which is between about 0.2 and about 100 microns thick. In other embodiments of Sivaram et al., lamina 40 may be, for example, between about 0.2-50 microns thick, between about 1-20 microns thick, between about 1-10 microns thick, between about 4-20 microns thick, or between about 5-15 microns thick, though any thickness within the named range is possible. FIG. 1D shows the structure inverted, with receiver 60 at the bottom, as during operation in some embodiments of Sivaram. Receiver 60 may be a discrete receiver element having a maximum width no more than 50 percent greater than that of donor wafer 20, and preferably about the same width, as described in Herner, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/057,265, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina Bonded to a Discrete Receiver Element,” filed on Mar. 27, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present application and hereby incorporated by reference. Alternatively, a plurality of donor wafers may be affixed to a single, larger receiver, and a lamina cleaved from each donor wafer.

0004] In summary, the primary stages of producing a lamina are ion implantation, exfoliation (cleaving the lamina from the donor wafer), and annealing (to repair defects in the lamina).


BONDING OF THIN LAMINA

BACKGROUND

[0002] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,481,845, owned by the assignee of the present disclosure and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., and others, photovoltaic cells and other electronic devices, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use. Methods are needed for handling thin lamina in order to process them into electronic devices.

SUMMARY

[0003] Methods and apparatus are provided for bonding a thin lamina to a carrier, the methods may comprise providing a thin lamina wherein the lamina has a first side and a second side and wherein the first side of the lamina is separably contacted to a support plate; providing a first carrier having a first side and a second side and wherein the first side comprises a layer of adhesive material; contacting the second side of the thin lamina to the first side of the first carrier; fixing the lamina to the first carrier wherein the fixing comprises applying a first application of heat and a first application of pressure to a portion of the lamina and the first carrier; removing the support plate; applying a second application of heat and a second application of pressure to the lamina and the first carrier wherein the second application of heat and the second application pressure promotes an adhesive bond between the lamina and the first carrier and wherein the second application of pressure comprises moving the lamina, the first carrier and the cover sheet between a pair of rollers.

Two additional relevant patents are below

Photovoltaic Cell Comprising A Thin Lamina Having A Rear Junction And Method Of Making 
ASYMMETRIC SURFACE TEXTURING FOR USE IN A PHOTOVOLTAIC CELL AND METHOD OF MAKING 

The Obscure Analyst’s Analyst Report takeaway :

My Final Closing Thoughts:  I am very disappointed in the lack of research and analytics that went into these reports with the exception of Credit Suisse and UBS.  My brother-in-law jokes that I am the “couch” analyst, because he knows that’s where I do all my research.  In closing, I wanted to reference to one of my favorite movies, Good Will Hunting, because one scene in particular resonates very well right now.  Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) was obviously brilliant and but he was working as a janitor at MIT and he kept solving the MIT professor’s math problems that not even the MIT students could understand them.   If you recall during one of the bar scenes, Will Hunting was vying for the attention of a young college co-ed and he was competing against a 1st year grad student named Clark.  Will and Clark starting a heated debate on history, a test of wits.  Will’s perfectly fitting retort to Clark:


"You got that from Vickers.  Work in Essex County, page 98, right? Yeah, I read
that, too. You gunna' plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts
that...of your own on this matter? Or do you-- is that your thing? You come into a
bar, you read some obscure passage, and then pretend you, you..pawn it off as your 
own..as your own idea...." 
 

I think it’s time the analyst community comes up with some original thought of their own rather than taking GTAT’s guidance as gospel and pawning it off as their own idea.  Will Hunting received his education for free at the public library, in this regard I am just like Will Hunting.  I conduct my own research using the tools and information that are available to the public.  At times it can be a painful act, but in the end you are handsomely rewarded with information and enough support to connect the dots and come up with your own original idea.  But hey what do I know?  I’m just the Obscure Analyst!

Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings over the next 72 hours

Matt Margolis – 2/24/14

I’m not an analyst working for an investment bank and I will probably never be one.  Today GT Advanced Technologies issued their Q4 2013 financials and gave investors an update to the progress of various segments of their business including Mesa.  GT’s management also magically upped 2016 earnings from $1 to $1.50 without flinching and without giving anything new and specific to support these assumptions.  I believe GT’s management gave them a revised outlook for 2015 and 2016 just because the investment bank analysts covering GTAT needed a bone to chew on, because in my opinion, they just can’t figure it out themselves.  

So far I have looked at 2 reports (Bank of America and Canaccord Genuity) and both appear to have “plugged” in $1.48/$1.52 EPS in 2016, without actually thinking about what they are doing.  Canaccord and Bank of America can’t provide a original forecast for GT if their reputation was on the line.  If Canaccord, stopped to look at their 2014 Q3 and Q4 revenue estimates compared to their 2015 and 2016 FY revenue numbers they would realize that they underestimated revenue by a factor of 2x and earnings by at least 2-3x for 2015 and 2016.  But hey, I’m just the Obscure Analyst who is dancing in step with management trying to figure out their next move. 

One thing that is clear Tom Gutierrez – President and CEO is following recent events brought to light in Mesa, AZ.  None of those revelations or original content was provided by the investment bank analyst community that covers GT Advanced Technologies.  These analysts are doing a disservice to the investment community by failing to do their homework and understand GT’s entire business portfolio, as well as GT’s latest trends and technology improvements.  TG made a direct statement regarding the recent buzz in Mesa just prior to the Q&A section and he was obviously not addressing the robot analysts that cover his company. 

Before we go into Q&A, I want to say that we appreciate the significant interest level on the part of investors and analysts to understand our build out in Arizona. As I noted last quarter, we are not in a position to give extensive information about this project. We are Harbor committed to keeping our investors as informed as possible within the bounds of our confidentiality obligations.

I’m going to continue to do what I do best and share what I know with anyone who wants to listen.  My next two immediate homework assignments to share with all of you are below.

#1 I am working on a real investment research report that shows some basic understanding of GT’s business as well as the prospects on the table to give legitimate revenue and EPS forecasts for 2015 and 2016. 

#2 I’m going to spill the beans on what I believe to be the “star” attraction of GTAT’s March 14, 2014 conference on New Product and Technology Briefing. 

To Tom Gutierrez GTAT President & CEO – If you are following the Obscure Analyst I’m just giving you a heads-up that the room on March 14, 2014 might already be buzzing before you even deliver the sacred cow.

To My Readers – Thank you for support and I will continue to inform anyone who wants to listen and continue to push the analyst community to do roll up their sleeves and do some homework for once!

Regards,

Your Obscure Analyst

I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out where things are going and how did we get there. On May 2, 2013 GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) CEO Thomas Gutierrez made a colorful remark during GTAT’s Q1 2013 conference call during the analysts Q&A section.

For the rest head over to http://seekingalpha.com/article/2042153-gt-advanced-technologies-the-truth-behind-the-cover-story