Cree Inc. announced plans to establish a silicon carbide (SiC) corridor on the East Coast of the U.S. with the creation of the world’s largest SiC fabrication facility. The company will build a brand new, state-of-the-art, automotive-qualified 200 mm power and RF wafer fabrication facility in Marcy, N.Y., complemented by its mega materials factory expansion currently underway at its Durham headquarters.
The new fabrication facility, part of a previously announced project to dramatically increase capacity for its Wolfspeed SiC and GaN business, will be a bigger, highly-automated factory with greater output capability. Through a strategic partnership with the office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and other state and local agencies and entities, the decision to build in New York will allow for both continued future expansion of capacity and significant net cost savings for Cree.
As a result, Cree will continue to drive the transition from silicon to SiC technology to meet the increasing demand for the company’s groundbreaking Wolfspeed technology that supports the growing electric vehicle (EV), 4G/5G mobile and industrial markets.
“Silicon carbide is one of the most pivotal technologies of our time, and is at the heart of enabling innovation across a wide range of today’s most groundbreaking and revolutionary markets, including the transition from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles and the rollout of ultra-fast 5G networks,” said Gregg Lowe, CEO of Cree. “This state-of-the-art, automotive-qualified wafer fabrication facility builds on our 30-year heritage of commercializing breakthrough technologies that help our customers deliver next-generation applications. We look forward to connecting our North Carolina and New York innovation hubs to drive the accelerated adoption of silicon carbide.”
“We’re excited to become part of Cree’s efforts to drive the transition from silicon to silicon carbide, and this partnership will be a key part of our work to strengthen the research and scientific assets that New York State will use to attract the industries and jobs of tomorrow,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric J. Gertler. “The Mohawk Valley offers a unique combination of valuable high-tech and scientific assets, and this is an important next step in growing our advanced manufacturing infrastructure and investing in our upstate economy.”
As part of the partnership, Cree will be investing approximately $1 billion in construction, equipment and other related costs for the New York fab. New York state will provide a $500 million grant from Empire State Development and Cree will be eligible for additional local incentives and abatements as well as equipment and tooling from SUNY. As a result, the company expects to realize a net capital savings of approximately $280 million on our previously announced $1 billion capacity expansion through 2024. In addition, it will provide 25 percent increased output compared to the previously planned facility. Ramping in 2022, the size of the new facility will be up to 480,000 sq. ft. upon completion, approximately one fourth of which will be clean room space, providing future expansion capacity as needed. These expansions will further improve Cree’s competitive position in the marketplace and accelerate silicon carbide adoption across an array of high-growth industries.
Creation of the silicon carbide corridor
With a mega materials factory in Durham and a state-of-the-art wafer fabrication facility near Utica, Cree will establish a “silicon carbide corridor”, leveraging its 30-year heritage of research and development in the Research Triangle of North Carolina and tapping into the rich technological base of resources situated in New York’s Mohawk Valley.
Cree plans to partner with local community and four-year colleges in North Carolina and New York to develop training and internship programs to prepare its workforce for the high-tech employment and long-term growth opportunities in both locations that the company’s revised expansion plan presents.