Posts Tagged ‘Solar’

by Matt Margolis

I reached to for GTAT for comment and the company representative declined to discuss who GT works with on its technology development programs.

Background

GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) mentioned during the Q4 2013 prepared remarks that its Merlin technology, “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 in the design and assembly of solar cells and modules”. GT referred to a “research operation,” which immediately set off my alarm that Merlin product was not tested inside a Bay Area PV module warehouse, but instead it came out a R&D facility located in the Bay Area. GT does not have a R&D facility or even an office inside the Bay Area, which only leaves one option; a research lab that is run by a leading PV module maker.

Merlin the Magnificent

Merlin is GT’s solution to improving the downstream solar equipment marketplace. The Merlin PV module offers a drastic improvement over current PV modules in 5 key areas; total system cost, solar cell efficiency, weight, flexibility and durability. GT’s Merlin technology is expected to deliver a total cost reductions of over 10% and cut silver paste use by up to 80%. The drop in silver paste usage as a result of Merlin’s patented design results in a lighter PV module, which may explain Merlin’s improved flexibility over other PV module designs. Additionally, Merlin demonstrated the ability to improve solar cell efficiency by 0.7% as well as significantly improving overall module durability. A solar cell efficiency gain of 0.7% doesn’t sound like much but when most solar cells are hovering around 17% it represents a 4% improvement. GT’s Merlin PV module technology is “agnostic,” and will improve the efficiency of any type of solar cell. GT also informed investors that Merlin would not be sold exclusively to any one potential customer, which opens the door for all PV module makers to enjoy GT’s game changing technology. Images below were taken from GT’s March Technology briefing.

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GT’s Long Term Relationship with Yingli

If I was to develop a game changing technology with a PV module maker I would not only want to the biggest fish but I would want someone I trust. Someone that I have worked with years! As it turns out Yingli Green Energy (YGE) not only was ranked #1 in 2013 for producing PV modules, but their relationship with GT Advanced Technologies (formerly GT Solar) goes back to 2002, when Yingli became GT’s first customer in China. Also, if you look at the various orders placed over time by Yingli the press releases contain language that translates to “hey scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back.” If you don’t believe me, read these comments between GT and Yingli’s within this order announcement from 2010 to that is focused on celebrating GT Solar’s 1000th DSS450 Crystalline Ingot Growth Furnace shipment as well as the very close relationship between the companies.

GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOLR), announced that it has achieved the milestone shipment of its 1,000th DSS450TM crystalline ingot growth furnace. The recipient of the system is long-time Chinese customer Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited.

 

GT Solar is a trusted and valued partner for Yingli,” said Mr. Liansheng Miao, chairman and chief executive officer of Yingli Green Energy. “Their ingot growth furnaces consistently produce high quality material which helps to reinforce our company’s reputation for delivering reliable products to our customers.

We are pleased that Yingli continues to express confidence in our ingot growth technology,” said Tom Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer of GT Solar.

Yingli Green Energy became GT Solar’s first customer in China in 2002 when they set up the first ingot, wafer and cell production lines at their Baoding headquarters. These production lines launched Yingli into the PV manufacturing industry and today they are one of the world’s leading fully vertically integrated PV manufacturers. Yingli has continued to invest in GT Solar’s multicrystalline ingot growth furnaces including the DSS240, which was introduced in 2003, and the current DSS450, which was introduced in 2007. Today, GT Solar has shipped over 1300 crystalline growth furnaces to customers around the world.

It’s very clear that Yingli and GT have a mutually beneficial relationship and both companies have admiration and appreciation of the benefits that have resulted from their long partnership. GT has enabled Yingli to continue to be a leader in the PV module space while Yingli’s investment in GT equipment has allowed GT to expand its business and invest money in its R&D to support the next generation of equipment that will benefit Yingli even more.

GT typically goes after strategic deals with the best and the biggest companies in their target market (i.e. Apple for sapphire), so it only makes sense that GT would reach out and try to work with one of the top 3 PV module makers in the world. According to Solarbuzz 2013 rankings the top 3 PV module makers were

  1. Yingli Green Energy
  2. Trina Solar
  3. Sharp Solar

So far I have focused on GT’s Q4 prepared remarks that indicated GT’s patented Merlin technology came out of a research operation in the Bay Area over a year ago. Secondly, I dug into GT’s closest and longest relationship with a PV module maker by the name of Yingli, that was consummated in 2002. Lastly, I provided 2013 Solarbuzz rankings of the top 10 PV module makers and focused on the top 3, which included Yingli. The only item that is missing to connect the dots is a R&D facility that is run by a leading PV module maker inside the Bay Area. As it turns out, Yingli opened up a Bay Area R&D facility in 2011 with the primary focus of accelerating their understanding of module performance and reliability. Yingli’s R&D facility located in the Bay Area is the perfect facility for GT to battle test its Merlin technology and truly understand how Merlin stacks up against the competition.

Yingli Opens up a Bay Area R&D Facility in 2011

Yingli announced on July 12, 2011 that the company was opening up a R&D facility in the San Francisco Bay Area for comprehensive product testing and evaluation. Furthermore, the announcement indicates that the new research and development lab will accelerate the company’s understanding of module performance and reliability. Additionally, R&D facility lab will allow Yingli to evaluate new technologies and deliver next generation products.

Yingli Americas also announces the opening of a new research and development facility in South San Francisco for comprehensive product testing and evaluation.

“Our new research and development lab will accelerate our understanding of module performance and reliability,” said Brian Grenko, Director of Operations for Yingli Americas. “This investment will enable us to more quickly evaluate new technologies, deliver next generation products, and better serve our customers throughout all stages of a project’s life cycle.”

“We now have the ability to offer product testing and development support within the U.S. for our customers here,” added Mr. Petrina. “We plan to use this new facility to proactively address market opportunities and trends to better support our pre- and post-sales efforts – a sign of our continued dedication to technical leadership.”

Image from Yingli

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Image from Yingli

Additional Images of Yingli’s PVTL obtained from Greentechmedia

Conclusion

GT mentioned that Merlin came out of a research operation that was established over a year ago. I was able to retrieve a copy of GTAT’s “Investing in Continued Growth and Diversification” presentation, that was discussed in August 2012 during Canaccord Genuity Growth Conference (image below). GT’s 2012 presentation clearly indicates its intentions of heading downstream and venturing into Module Manufacturing. The August 2012 presentation states GT is, “considering opportunities to move downstream solar equipment market to support next generation solar cell and module manufacturing.” As it turns out, it took GT less than 2 years to introduce Merlin as an opportunity and then bring it to the market. GT’s module manufacturing opportunity, which officially was introduced as “Merlin” technology, is referenced in the second bullet point in the image below.

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I’ve established clear evidence that GT’s Merlin PV module technology fits like a “T” within the primary scope of Yingli’s Bay Area PV Testing Lab’s that was established over 2 years ago in 2011. The contract announcement in 2010 between GT Solar (renamed to GT Advanced Technologies) clearly exhibits the co-dependencies, trust as well as a high level of engagement between both companies. Additionally, Yingli has been ranked near the top of the PV module supplier charts for the last several years. I believe Yingli is the “unnamed” collaborative resource, that helped GT battle test and monitor the results of GT’s game-changing Merlin technology within their Bay Area research operation, that opened its doors in 2011.

According to the market research firm IHS, Yingli claimed the #1 spot again in 2013 as the biggest PV module supplier, increasing the company’s market share from 7.4% (2012) to 8.3% in 2013. Solarbuzz reported that the top 2 PV module suppliers (Yingli and Trina Solar (TSL) accounted for 15% of PV module shipments in Q4 2013. Trina Solar is also long term customer of GT and has placed over $70m of solar equipment orders with GT since 2008. Trina Solar placed a $49m Polysilicon reactor order in 2008 and a DSS equipment order totaling $24m in 2010.

GT indicated that Merlin could generate $1B a year in annual sales based on a 20% market adoption rate by 2018. Yingli and Trina Solar have a combined PV module market share of 15% as of Q4 2013. GT likely “battle tested” Merlin at Yingli’s R&D facility in the San Francisco Bay Area and Trina Solar has been a long time GT solar equipment customer since 2008 or earlier.  GT is well positioned to sell Merlin to the top 2 PV module suppliers in the world and drive Merlin’s market adoption rate above 15% and generate over $800m of annual revenue from with just two customers much sooner than previously expected.

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GT’s CEO Tom Gutierrez indicated during the March technology briefing that, “we don’t build the trap and wait for the mice, we work directly with the customer to find out what they want”. I just hope GT has enough cheese to feed all the mice that will come crawling through the door for a bite of GT’s Merlin technology. Furthermore, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if Yingli and GTAT celebrate their long tenured relationship and continued partnership within Merlin’s inaugural order announcement in the 2H of 2014.

 

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A Patented Review of Apple’s Upcoming iWatch by Matt Margolis

Apple’s iWatch patent was granted on February 21, 2013 under the name BI-STABLE SPRING WITH FLEXIBLE DISPLAY.  There is a significant amount of technical information and detail provided in the patent.  I have tried to do all of the dirty work for you and summarize the technological specifications as well as assess whether some of the juicy options should be expected or not expected in the 2014 version of the Apple iWatch.  Listed below are some significant claims associated with the iWatch patent:

A wearable accessory device is disclosed. The wearable accessory device includes a flexible display coupled to a bi-stable spring. Coupling the display to the bi-stable spring allows the accessory device to be easily worn in a number of convenient locations.

A wearable video device arranged to be worn by an end-user, comprising: a flexible substrate having a flat state and a curled state; a flexible display disposed upon a first surface of the flexible substrate, wherein in the curled state the flexible substrate conforms to an appendage of the end-user, the flexible substrate further comprising: an electronic module in communication with the flexible display, the electronic module providing information to the display, at least a part of which is presented in real time for presentation by the flexible display; and a mechanism for detecting an end portion of the flexible display, the detection for adjusting the arrangement of information shown on the flexible display to match the size of the appendage the wearable video device is mounted on.

 [0008] A method for passing information between an accessory device disposed on one surface of a bi-stable spring substrate and a portable electronic device is disclosed. The accessory device includes a flexible display arranged to present a first set of visual information. The portable electronic device has a portable electronic device display arranged to present a second set of visual information. The method includes the following steps: (1) determining whether the accessory device is being worn by an end-user where the determining is accomplished by at least one sensor on the accessory device; (2) when it determined the accessory device is being worn by the end user, establishing a communication channel between the accessory device and the portable electronic device where the communication channel is arranged to provide a bi-directional communication link between the flexible display and the portable electronic device; (3) passing information between the portable electronic device and the accessory device by way of the bi-directional communication link, where at least a portion of the passed information is presented by the flexible display as the first set of visual information; and (4) displaying the first set of visual information by the flexible display.


[0009] A slap bracelet configured to display information wirelessly transmitted from a portable electronic device is disclosed. The slap bracelet includes at least the following components: (1) a communication link, allowing two-way communication between the slap bracelet and the portable electronic device; (2) a flexible display disposed over a portion of a first surface of the slap bracelet; (3) a touch sensitive user interface disposed over the top of the flexible display; and (4) an electronic module disposed on one end of the first surface of the slap bracelet. Information generated on either device can be displayed on either the host device display or the flexible display.

What Apple’s iWatch could feature based on my review of the patent:

Technological Specifications

  • Worn on leg
  • Worn on arm
  • Solar Power
  • Kinetic Energy
  • Solar Panel Array
  • Wireless Communication Between Devices
  • 2 Batteries – Integrated Device and a Solar Powered/Rechargeable replaceable battery
  • Read email and documents
  • Video capability

Form Specifications

  • Curved Display over a Flat State that rest on the body
  • Flexible Display possibly OLED
  • Flexible straps that confirm to the body “slap bracelet”

Kinetic Energy Charging (Not Likely)

Kinetic energy is listed above as a potential power source within the iWatch patent, which would be used to power one of two potential iWatch batteries. In addition to the patent, Apple has had discussions with Swatch Chief Nick Hayek about materials for products and so-called energy harvesting “Kinetic Energy” technology that would generate energy from physical movement. A lesser know company, n M2E Power was focused on developing motion powered charges and energy storage devices but the company was sold in 2009 to Motionetics and not much is known if they continued this work or dropped the project all together. Kinetic energy is currently used to power watches, but the power draw from a smartwatch would require significant technological improvements and I’m just not sure we are there yet.

Solar Power (Very Likely)

October 31, 2013 Apple was granted a new solar touch screen patent, that will allow Apple to power a device, without the need of a “boost converter,” which will lead to fewer issues squeezing components underneath the hood of Apple’s devices. This is a significant improvement from the February 2013 patent. Although the iWatch was not listed under the electronic devices we all know that it is on the list. The patent’s technical details are below:

Apple’s patent filing states that in the absence of the power adapter and/or mains electricity, the portable electronic device may be powered by the battery until the battery is fully discharged. Because the battery has a limited runtime, operation of the portable electronic device may generally be dependent on the availability of mains electricity. Hence, use of portable electronic devices may be facilitated by improving access to power sources for the portable electronic devices.

Apple’s invention relates to providing a power management system that supplies power to components in an electronic device. The power management system includes a system microcontroller SMC and a charger. The electronic devices that will be able to take advantage of Apple’s new solar panel include a MacBook, iPad, iPod touch and iPhone.

During operation, the power management system accepts power from at least one of a power adapter and a solar panel. Next, the power management system supplies the power to components in the electronic device without using a converter circuit between the solar panel and the power management system.

December 2013 Curved Touch Sensor Patent (Very Likely)

Apple was awarded a curved touch sensor patent on December 10, 2013. The curved patent description aligns closely with the iWatch forms, that were called out in the iWatch patent including; “curved touch surface”, “flat state” and “flexible substrate”. The use of thin films could indicate solar cells and/or sapphire laminates. The curved touch sensor patent abstract is below:

A method of forming a curved touch surface is disclosed. The method can include depositing and patterning a conductive thin film on a flexible substrate to form at least one touch sensor pattern, while the flexible substrate is in a flat state. According to certain embodiments, the method can include supporting the flexible substrate in the flat state on at least one curved forming substrate having a predetermined curvature; and performing an anneal process, or an anneal-like high-heat process, on the conductive thin film, wherein the anneal process can cause the flexible substrate to conform to the predetermined curvature of the at least one curved forming substrate. According to an embodiment, the curved forming substrate can include a first forming substrate having a first predetermined curvature and a second forming substrate having a second predetermined curvature complementing the first predetermined curvature.

Flexible Sapphire Display Made with Liquidmetal (Is Possible)

Apple has been dealing with screen technology issues and one way to remedy this problem is through one of their recently awarded patents filed in Europe. The flexible transparent sapphire wraparound display patent might have been the cure needed to address screen flexibility issues Apple has been experiencing. According to the patent, Apple’s sapphire and transparent display would be made using an alumina powder liquidmetal process and could be used in smartphones as well as devices like smartwatches.  Liquidmetal might be making its first major appearance in Apple iOS devices via the iWatch.  Below are some highlights of the patent:

The device may display content that moves or that remains at a fixed location on the surface of the flexible display layer. For example, the electronic device may display pages of content on the display layer in response to tilt events or other motions of the device.

The electronic device may also adjust scrolling activity and other on-screen content motions based on detected device rotation and other measured movement of the device.

The flexible wraparound display device would still feature a touchscreen, accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors for user input

iWatch Yield and Battery Life Issues and Sapphire Attachment Technique

The iWatch design team has been working feverishly to address battery life and display issues. The curved, flexible iWatch display has been giving Apple fits for sometime. The battery life has been less than desirable as Apple is attempting to extend the battery life to 4 to 5 days without a charge. The smartwatch battery life issues date back to the middle of 2013. Apple is focused on implementing a longer-lasting battery that would allow the device to live without charge for up to five days. In addition to the battery and display issues Apple lost a key member of the iWatch team Bryan James, who left in January to join Nest Labs.

I believe the recent wave of sapphire patents filed by Apple over the last month stemmed from Apple’s focus on resolving the flexible screen and battery life issues. The iWatch will spend a significant amount of time under the hot sun compared to a iPhone, which will result in increased heat coming to the device, which could be contributing to the battery life issues Apple has been reporting. One of Apple’s most recent patents entitled “Attachment technique,” describes the sapphire mounting process as well as using sapphire as a heat spreader to dissipate heat generated by the processor. My takeaway, this critical patent will be deployed on the iWatch to help push heat away from the processor, which will help improve the overall battery life.  Below is an excerpt from the attachment technique patent:

0025] With particular reference to sapphire, the presently discussed techniques allows the effective use of sapphire in a variety of different applications without the risks associated with conventional attachment techniques. For example, sapphire may effectively be attached to a frame of a mobile computing device as a cover glass for a display screen. Additionally, as sapphire’s thermal conductivity is on the order of metals, it may effectively be implemented as a heat spreader. That is, sapphire may be attached both mechanically and thermally to a processor. More specifically, a sapphire substrate may be used as a processor mount to dissipate heat generated by the processor.

[0026] Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, an example mobile computing device 100 is illustrated. The mobile computing device 100 includes a first side 102 that may include a transparent cover 104. In some embodiments, the transparent cover 104 may take the form of a sapphire sheet, a sapphire sheet with a glass laminate layer, a plastic, or other suitable material, through which a visual output of the device 100 is output. Additionally, the cover 104 may be configured to receive input from users via a capacitive sensor, for example. A second side 106 (FIG. 1B) of the mobile computing device 100 includes a camera with a cover 108. As with the transparent cover 104 of the first side 102, the cover 108 may take any suitable form, such a sapphire.

GT Advanced Technologies: Will supply Sapphire and Solar Cells to Apple? (Very Likely & Possible)

GT Advanced Technologies will be supplying sapphire displays for Apple’s up coming iPhones, but is there more to this cover story beyond sapphire? Apple is big on green energy and is already leveraging solar power supply for several large facilities (data center, corporate headquarters, etc) being constructed today. GT is very familiar to solar technology and after review of their recent patents it appears likely that they will be entering the super thin-film marketplace, for the solar industry and consumer electronics.

In one of my most recent publications at Seeking Alpha I went into depth how GT is positioning themselves to electrify the Mobile World. GT Advanced Technologies’ (GTAT) epitaxial growth on thin lamina patent was published on 2/6/14. Epitaxy is defined as the growth of a thin layer on the surface of a crystal so that the layer of growth has the same structure as the underlying crystal. GT’s patent essentially enables the growth of a semiconductor material on a donor body, by firing GT’s Hyperion’s ion cannon which splits (exfoliates) the semiconductor material from the donor body, to form a super thin lamina (layer) of the semiconductor material. The resulting lamina from the first process can be exfoliated by Hyperion a second time to form an additional semiconductor lamina.

One of the most interesting findings within this patent was related to PV (photovoltaic), specifically the creation of a triple junction PV cell and the ability to incorporate the thin (PV cell) lamina into an electronic device. Not only does GT have the ability to create thin-film solar cells but they also have the ability to stack the thin-film solar cells to form a triple junction PV cell that is still less than 25 microns thick before it is incorporated into an electronic device all while rocking a 40%+ efficiency rating. Below are some details from the epitaxial growth on thin lamina patent.

In some embodiments a triple junction PV cell may be fabricated with lamina such as a germanium lamina

The combined thickness of the lamina and epitaxial layer may be between about 2 microns and about 25 microns such as between 15 and 25 microns. One, two or more additional layers may be formed on the either surface of the lamina/epitaxial layer assembly before incorporating the lamina into an electronic device.

 

 

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

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Introduction

GT Advanced Technologies left  investors with a cliff hanger (see quote below) during last week’s Q4 2013 conference call.  It was like watching your favorite TV show’s finale and having to wait until the fall to find out what happens.  I’m hoping to shed some light on what we might expect on March 14.  GT has been saying for quote sometime that “solar costs need to come down” and you know what I think they have done it.  I have to tip my hat again GT’s CEO Tom Gutierrez  and his team of scientists for their most recent invention.

While solar is not expected to contribute meaningfully to revenues over the next year, it remains an important part of our portfolio. However, we continue to believe that for the solar industry to fully reach its potential, cost must come down dramatically. To this end, 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.

CVD Background

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) in simple terms is defined as the chemical process to produce high-purity, high-performance solid materials.   In GT’s case they use CVD reactors to manufacture electronic grade or solar grade polysilicon.   The two most common ways to produce polysilicon deposit is through a CVD reactor, using the Siemens or Rogers Heitz method, which require the assembly of a silicon rod within the reactor, that has to be mounted and connected so that electrical feeds pass through.  My simple translation, the current process involves a whole assembly process inside the reactor before pushing the green button to turn it on to grow polysilicon.

GT’s website currently lists three CVD reactor models  for sale; SDR 400,  SDR 500 and SDR 600.  All of the reactors currently use the Siemens-type (polysilicon rod) process to manufacture electronic grade or solar grade polysilicon.  The top end model SDR 600 produces greater than 600 MTA (metric tons annually) was introduced on October 25, 2012 according to a GT Press Release.  GT’s polysilcon processing system equipment, which is used to “to harvest, transport, process, and package the polysilicon rods produced in GT’s SDR series CVD reactors,” is also solely dedicated to the Siemens method of producing polysilicon rods.  I am a big fan of GT’s CEO and I wanted to share various comments he has made since 2012 on the solar industry.

Tom Guiterrez Aug 2012  Q2 Earnings Call “the industry (solar) must accelerate the development of technologies that will allow for profitability at significantly reduced total systems cost of $2 per watt at the system level or below”

Tom Guiterrez Nov 2013 Q3 Earnings Call “working on other downstream PV technologies that we believe will have a significant impact on the solar cost structure”

Tom Guiterrez  Feb 2014 Q4 Earnings Call “However, we continue to believe that for the solar industry to fully reach its potential, cost must come down dramatically. To this end, we have a deployed a new technology that we expect will significantly impact the economics of producing solar cells and modules”

Ground Breaking Technology

I’ve spent a lot of time covering all the bases to make sure that their most recently granted patent has not been deployed within GT’s current equipment, because it will change competitive landscape of solar for years to come.  GT’s most recent patent is detailed in within the method of making large surface area filaments for the production of polysilicon in a CVD reactor  patent was granted on 2/11/14.   The most recent granted CVD reactor patent was related to a previous patent that was filed on April 28, 2006.  The bottom line is that GT has been working on this for a while,  but this invention has yet to be deployed in GT’s CVD reactor equipment.  With that said, I believe that is about to change by the beginning of 2015.

From the comments above its obvious GT’s CEO has been broadcasting the need to reduce the total system costs of solar since August 2012, if not longer.  He specifically mentions that the total systems cost must come down.  Total systems cost to me is your soup to nuts.  For solar costs it would include the cost of buying equipment, producing polysilicon, cutting silicon wafers all the way through to a completed solar cell.

GT’s recently granted patent involves replacing the silicon rod method (Siemens) and instead using silicon shapes such as silicon tubes, ribbons and other large area filament shapes which increases the surface area for deposition of silicon.  In simple terms, the different silicon shapes have a larger surface area and kind of act like a magnet, the larger the surface area, the more polysilicon that can be deposited within the CVD reactor.  How much more? According to the patent the production throughput can be increased 30-40% without compromising the quality of product and without significant changes to the reactors.  Additionally, the CVD reactor itself would can be simplified; currently the system has subsystems and two power sources that various currents and voltages.  The new process would enable the complicated power supply and circuitry to be replaced with a simple system of current supply and temperature controls.  A simpler power supply and circuitry setup will also lead to a reduction in the cost of the capital equipment as well.  Below are some key highlights from the invention (note the MTA yield numbers are from 2006 and actually CVD yields have increased significantly since 2006) :

It is an object of the present invention to increase the throughput of conventional CVD reactors by incorporating silicon shapes, such as silicon tubes, ribbons, or other large surface area filament shapes of similar electrical properties, instead of the conventional solid slim rods, so that the initial surface area for deposition of silicon is increased. For example, using a tubular silicon filament of 50 mm diameter rather than the conventional slim rod, the production throughput can be increased by 30-40% without compromising the quality of the product and without significant changes to the reactors. The required change to the reactor design to use the alternative filament is so minor that it can be retrofitted to current CVD reactors quickly and at very modest cost. It can even more easily be incorporated into new reactors of the same basic design, with further cost reduction benefits.

This eliminates the requirement of a complex array of subsystems and two power sources; one power supply that can provide very high voltage and low current, and a second power supply that can sustain a very high current at relatively lower voltage plus the associated switching circuit. The two power supplies and related switching circuitry can be replaced with a simple system of current supply and temperature controls.

This change in design will result in lower capital equipment costs for new reactors of similar design, and for retrofit of existing reactors when required. This change and type of operation avoids cumbersome and time consuming start up procedures, lowers down time and increases productivity, for applications where the resulting purity level is acceptable.

For a conventional 7 mm diameter solid slim rod, the growth time is more than 70 hours and the reactor produces less than 231 metric tons per year when the down time between operating cycles was limited to 6 hours. When the solid slim rods are replaced with 50 mm OD tube filaments of the invention, the growth or CVD times are expected to be about 45 hours. Using the same 6 hour down time curve d for the calculation, 304 metric tons of polysilicon can be produced per year. As can be seen, the use of a 50 mm OD tubular starting filament in accordance with the invention yields about 30% more in throughput under the normal downtime of about 6 hours.

The Current Solar Landscape

PV Magazine  published an article over the winter regarding the falling price of silicon wafers.  Included in the PV Magazine article was some information from GT’s favorite source NPD Solarbuzz.  NPD Solarbuzz estimates that the cost to make silicon wafers might breach $0.20/watt in 2014.  The estimated silicon wafer cost of  $0.20 cents per watt was split between wafer processing costs (60% – 12 cents) and polysilicon production costs (40% – 8 cents).
Screenshot - 3_3_2014 , 11_36_23 PM

Solarbuzz indicates that the cost of polysilicon accounts for 40% of the total cost of silicon per watt.  GT’s CVD reactor invention can reduce the cost to polysilicon by 30-40% on the product side plus reduce capital expenditures, both of which will only enhance GT’s odds of landing significant future contracts.  In addition to the GT’s CVD reaction invention, GT also received a recent patent related to producing thin-film solar cells, which have several applications.    The Epitaxial growth on thin lamina focused on thin-film solar cells and GT’s ability to build a triple junction PV cell, that can be applied to power delivery, consumer electronics and elsewhere.

The other piece of the Solarbuzz chart is the cost of wafer processing,  which represents nearly 60% of the total cost per watt.    GT’s thin-film solar cell patent essentially enables the growth of a semiconductor material on a donor body, by firing GT’s Hyperion’s ion cannon which splits (exfoliates) the semiconductor material from the donor body, to form a super thin lamina (layer) of the semiconductor material.  The cost reductions from Hyperion will also have a significant impact on the cost to make silicon wafers.  As some of you know from my previous updates, TG is very confident in Hyperion, as evidenced by his February 2013 comment during the Q4 2012 Q&A.

Tom Gutierrez – “And quite honestly, I don’t see anybody that’s anywhere near competing with us right now, on next-generation technologies that we’re developing. The Hyperion, nobody’s got that”

The highlights within GT’s thin film solar cells and triple junction PV cells are listed below:

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.

[0020] Any number of electronic devices may be fabricated by the methods of this invention as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. In some embodiments a triple junction PV cell may be fabricated with lamina such as a germanium lamina (FIG. 4A). In some embodiments an LED may be fabricated by methods of this invention with a gallium nitride lamina (FIG. 4B). Solid-state power devices–used in switching or amplifying large voltages and currents–are important components in communications, power delivery, and, increasingly, transportation applications. These devices may also be constructed by methods of this invention.

Conclusion:

GT’s recently granted CVD reactor patent would allow them to significantly reduce the cost of producing polysilicon from current levels (by as much as 30-40%) as well as reduce the cost of capital equipment.  GT would be the first to buck the trend and switch from Siemens method of producing polysilicon to a new method that takes advantage of tube filaments with larger surface areas to increase CVD reactor throughput and lower cost per KG of polysilicon.  Strategically, it makes prefect sense to perfect the CVD reactor process and technology and focus on having it ready for the 2015 solar equipment upgrade cycle.  Additionally, Hyperion’s exfoliation methods to separate a silicon block into super thin wafers, can dramatically reduce the current silicon wafering costs as well as improve the overall yield.  If you factor in GT’s recent thin-film solar cell patent, partnered with Hyperion, GT is on track to produce the thinnest solar cells on the market.  They are also already considering triple junction PV cells, which is one way to advance the design and assembly of solar.

If GT can effectively bend the cost curve throughout the solar supply chain they will set themselves up as the leading solution in solar, head and shoulders above any competitors and on target to receive a significant piece of the solar spending pie in 2015 and beyond.  Courtesy of Solarbuzz, you can see that capital spending is expected to pick up significantly in 2015 and reach industry spending levels not seen since 2010.  GT averaged over $600m in annual solar revenue between PV equipment and polysilicon over 2010 and 2011.    I see no reason why GT can’t repeat or even double their annual revenue solar achieved over the course of 2010 and 2011 and bring in $1.2B+ in annual revenue ($1.00 + EPS) just from solar by 2016.  They are in a much better position heading into 2015 compared to 2010 based on the tools in their technology portfolio.   GT Advanced Technologies might be setting themselves up to bend the solar cost trend and help push solar installations to another level far sooner than currently projected beginning in 2015.  I am currently modeling Solar PV and polysilicon sales at $1.2B for 2016.  Several of the Wall Street analysts covering GTAT have all-in revenue estimates of $1.5B to $1.9B for 2016.  It’s clear the analysts don’t understand GTAT and need to be spoon fed information by the Obscure Analyst.

Screenshot - 3_5_2014 , 12_02_57 AM

GTAT’s technological advances solar industry as evidenced by recent patents; related to thin firm solar cells and methodology to grow polysilicon in a CVD reactor along with commercialization of Hyperion might enable GT Advanced Technologies to be the:

  • Highest yielding polysilicon equipment maker
  • Most cost effective polysilicon raw material equipment supplier/producer
  • Most cost effective polysilicon total solution in the marketplace
  • Most cost effective silicon wafer equipment supplier/producer
  • Most cost effective thin film solar cell producer for consumer electronics and power systems
  • Produce the thinnest and most efficient solar cells in the industry

If solar revenue can bring in over $1B a year in annual revenue by 2016 and solar sales are also expected to decline as a percentage of GT’s overall sales; then just how BIG is the total annual revenue projected to be over the coming years? $3B? $6B? 

However, we’re still of the opinion that the solar capital equipment market is not likely to show significant opportunity until 2015. As the solar industry returns to health, we expect to play an important role in helping our customers lower cost throughout the process of manufacturing solar cells. 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.

I’ll leave you with my research thesis…….

It’s amazing what you can learn by looking at the past and then realizing where you are in the present and where you will be in the future.

My review of the past indicates that we have not arrived at the future. The present is a lot grander than anyone can understand today.

In the future we will learn what we missed from the past. We will learn that clues from the past were absolutely a sign of things to come.

~The Obscure Analyst 2/28/14

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

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Matt Margolis 3/3/14

GT Advanced Technologies’ (GTAT) epitaxial growth on thin lamina patent was published on 2/6/14. Epitaxy is defined as the growth of a thin layer on the surface of a crystal so that the layer of growth has the same structure as the underlying crystal. GT’s patent essentially enables the growth of a semiconductor material on a donor body, by firing GT’s Hyperion’s ion cannon which splits (exfoliates) the semiconductor material from the donor body, to form a super thin lamina (layer) of the semiconductor material. The resulting lamina from the first process can be exfoliated by Hyperion a second time to form an additional semiconductor lamina. The patent can be applied across a broad range of semiconductor materials to epitaxally grow GaN, AlGaN, AN, Ge, Ga(In)As, GaInP, AlGaInP, AlInP, InGaN, SiC, GaAs. The epitaxial layer may be doped as either n-type or p-type while it is being grown. The donor bodies for this patent include germanium, gallium arsenide, silicon carbide, silicon and gallium nitride.

One of the most interesting findings within this patent was related to PV (photovoltaic), specifically the creation of a triple junction PV cell and the ability to incorporate the thin (PV cell) lamina into an electronic device. Not only does GT have the ability to create thin film solar cells but they also have the ability to stack the thin film solar cells to form a triple junction PV cell that is still less than 25 microns thick before it is incorporated into an electronic device all while rocking a 40%+ efficiency rating. Below are some details from the epitaxial growth on thin lamina patent.

For the complete article head over to Seeking Alpha (membership is free)

http://t.co/8j8ZyzDLIk

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GTAT Finds Way to Significantly Reduce Cost of Solar

Posted: March 2, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Research is underway to answer this question and a major discovery has already been made. The new found
information does confirm GTAT has found a way to significant reduce the cost of solar dramatically.

I will be working on this an hope to have an update for all to enjoy as soon as I can.

Obscure Analyst

“While solar is not expected to contribute meaningfully to revenues over the next year, it remains an important part of our portfolio. However, we continue to believe that for the solar industry to fully reach its potential, cost must come down dramatically. To this end, 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,” added Gutierrez.

Saudi PV Contracts May Deliver Sunshine Either Way?

Posted: March 2, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Solar News, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

A new article from PV Tech from Author Mark Osborne, who by the way is always on top of his game, made some interesting comments about 5 days ago (link below).

http://www.pv-tech.org/news/gt_advanced_technologies_expects_major_revenue_recovery_with_new_products_i

In reference to the Middle East, GTAT was one of a group of preferred bidders for a major new polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia, which would be built in phases over several years. The successful bid for that plant was originally expected to have been announced at the end of 2013, which suggests a decision is imminent.

Recently, SunEdison announced it was undertaking a feasibility study with Saudi partners to build a major PV manufacturing complex that would include polysilicon production through to PV module assembly.

Though it is unclear at this time whether the two polysilicon plants are connected or not, GTAT could benefit from both regardless.

He also made one more comment regarding 3/14/14 webcast on new technologies

major new product announcement on March 14 is not related to its Twin Creeks acquired Hyperion wafer technology, nor the HiCz low-cost monocrystalline polysilicon technology, previously touted to enter the market in 2014.

Perhaps a new tool is coming out of GT’s war chest?

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

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.