Applied Materials Buys Advent Solar (AMAT)

Applied Materials has purchased most of the assets of Advent Solar in cash to boost its offering of factory equipment for making crystalline silicon cells and panels.

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Advent has developed a processthat makes use of thinner silicon wafers to make cells with electricallines on the back of the cell. Many manufacturers make cells with thecontact lines – which transport electricity produced – on the front ofthe cells.

Putting the lines on the back would leave more room on the front totrap light, and that should boost electricity production. Founded in2002, Advent also developed a process that it said would completelyautomate the assembly of solar cells into panels.

Advent had wanted to make its own cells and panels, and even signed a deal last year to buy $350 million worth of silicon wafers from Deutsche Solar.

In September 2008, Advent said it had lined up Enerpoint, MHHSolartechnik and SunConnex as its distributors. Advent had planned toship 250 megawatts to these companies through 2013.

By March this year, Advent said it was in the business of licensing its knowhow.

The company raised $70 million in Series D in2007, and that brought the total to $110 million. Investors includedZBI Ventures, Sun Mountain Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, BatteryVentures and @Ventures.  

Applied declined to disclose the purchase price.

Also on Friday, San Diego-based Applied Solar Inc. said it had completed the sale of its assets to Quercus APSO, a subsidiary of The Quercus Trust.

Quercus APSO plans to change its name to do business as AppliedSolar LLC. Applied Solar plans to launch a product in 2010 that will bebuilt into asphalt roof shingles, the company said Friday.

The company has listed some production descriptions on its website. One of them touted a panel embedded with crystalline silicon cells made by Suntech Power that would take place of the regular shingles.

Applied Solar, by the way, used to be called Open Energy. It announced the name change in January this year.



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