Gregg Lowe (Cree Image)

by WRAL TechWire — September 23, 2019

DURHAM – Cree, woed by a $500 million grant from the state of New York and other incentives, will build a chip factory in that state as part of its drive to increase production of silicon carbide chips.

The Durham-based firm is already committed to building what it calls a “magafactory” in Durham as part of its expansion that focuses on chips being sold by its Wolfspeed power supply subsidiary. A major focus of that group is electric-powered vehicles. Other points of effort include wireless technology such as emergin 5G networks.

Marcy, N.Y. was selected as the site,

“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, in the announcement.

“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.”

The factory will be “highly automated” and have “greater output capacity,” Cree noted. The facility will provide “25 percent increased output compared to the previously planned facility.”

“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 Eric Gertler, 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.”

Cree expects to invest some $1 billion in construction, equipment and other costs.

In return, the state offered the $500 million grant from Empire State Development.

Other incentives and tax abatements as well as equipment from the State University of New York will be included.

“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.,” Cree noted.

The plant will cover some 480,000 square feet.

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