SAN JOSE, Calif. - Has Intel Corp. re-entered into the solar business? Not exactly.
Last year, Intel's solar cell spinoff, SpectraWatt Inc., shut down its operations, according to reports.
Now, MiaSole Inc., a manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, has entered into an agreement with Intel's Technical Manufacturing Services practice.
Under this agreement, Intel will provide customized manufacturing services and systems, strategic consulting, operational knowledge and training to MiaSole as the company ramps its manufacturing facilities in 2011 and 2012.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based MiaSole has increased its annualized production capacity to over 50 Megawatts (MW) in just over a year, and is on-track to triple capacity to over 150 MW by the end of 2011.
Intel, regardless of the SpectraWatt mishap, still has a strategic interest in solar power. The company wants to be part of the future growth in solar energy, and in clean-tech and energy-efficient processors. Similar skills are needed in high volume solar cell manufacturing as in semiconductors, so this sector plays into Intel’s strengths.
The MiaSole partnership is a way by which the company can continue to be involved in this sector, even if only indirectly.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.