Semiconductor Giant Pushes Millions Into Solar, LED Arena

One of the biggest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is pushing its chips into the middle in another field: solar power and LED manufacturing.

Hsinchu-based TSMC announced that along with plans for new semiconductor foundries, they will spend more than $100 million on a LED manufacturing line and $218 million on a thin film photovoltaic construction facility. This comes a year after the company announced their intentions to move into these green tech fields, and follows on the heels of a number of business moves aimed at centering them in the push for solar and LED fields.

Late in 2009 TSMC acquired a 20 percent stake in Motech Industries, which is among the largest solar cell manufacturers in the world. More recently, the company reached a supply agreement with the solar thin-film manufacturer Stion, and in March they broke ground on an LED manufacturing facility.

Adding TSMC to the solar mix will only strengthen the tiny country's lofty position in the industry. Various reports from Taiwanese sources indicate that the country ranks third or fourth in the world in solar cell manufacturing, and adding TSMC's $3 billion in net income to that muscle can't hurt. And with nearby China recently overtaking the United States as the world's biggest energy user, the biggest market for those solar cells and LEDs isn't going anywhere.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

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