ECD Pays Bekaert for Photovoltaic Market Interests

May 21, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD, Rochester Hills, MI) announced that it will pay $6 million to N.V. Bekaert S.A. for its interests in the joint venture established in April 2000 by United Solar Systems and Bekaert ECD Solar Systems to manufacture and market photovoltaic (PV) products. ECD will assume Bekaert's guarantees to $25 million of liabilities, and will give rights to Bekaert in non-PV technologies and rights to build sputtering machines outside the field of triple-junction photovoltaics.

"We understand Bekaert's need to exit the ventures and appreciate its past support and role in enabling us to expand our manufacturing capacity," stated ECD President and Uni-Solar Chairman Stanford Ovshinsky, and ECD Chairman Robert Stempel. "Due to the success of and response to products being manufactured by the 30MW machine, we will continue to offer our unique proprietary solar solution to grow the much-needed global solar business."

ECD wants to increase Uni-Solar's production from its new 30MW manufacturing facility, which it claims is the world's largest production machine for thin-film, amorphous, silicon alloy, solar cells. The plant is capable of producing three miles and two tons of solar cells per day, which makes Uni-Solar the only mass producer of thin-film a-Si solar products, and one of the four largest solar cell producers in the US.