Taking a new name to mark a new milestone, United States-based silicon wafer technologies pioneer MEMC Electronic Materials is now SunEdison - an elite, global brand backed by 54 years of expertise in the semiconductor and solar energy industries.
"SunEdison is inspired by the combination of solar energy and innovativeness personified by Thomas Edison," says Shaker Sadasivam, president, semiconductor materials, and executive vice-president, research and development at SunEdison. "MEMC invented many of the patented technologies used today in semiconductor wafer processing. Rebranded and revitalised as SunEdison, we aim to surpass these accomplishments by constantly reinventing ourselves to align with the rapidly evolving semiconductor industry and flourishing solar energy segment."
The company completed its rebranding in June, intending to create one powerful brand name recognised across industries and worldwide. Ranging from bulk wafers to advanced technologies such as silicon-on-insulator and ultra-high resistivity wafers under its Perfect Silicon and Magic Denuded Zone brands, SunEdison's semiconductor wafers are the foundation upon which semiconductor devices are built. These devices, in turn, provide the "intelligence" to a variety of electronics, including smartphones, appliances, computers and satellites.
A pioneer in its own right in the solar energy industry, SunEdison introduced the Solar Power Purchase Agreement in 2003. It uses in-house developed electronic-grade polysilicon and has a vertically integrated and quality-controlled manufacturing process. Producing high-power, high-performance solar modules, it is North America's largest developer of solar power projects and leading solar energy services provider.
SunEdison installed 430 megawatts of solar energy globally last year alone. In March, it announced that it had cumulatively interconnected more than 700 solar power systems worldwide, representing more than one gigawatt of solar energy.
The world's increasing appetite for solar power as a reliable energy source motivates SunEdison to innovate further, particularly in Taiwan, where it found synergy between the semiconductor and energy fields. In Taiwan since 1994, SunEdison helped establish the region's strong semiconductor industry alongside giants Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and United Microelectronics Corporation.
"There is a very large and growing solar energy sector," says David Ranhoff, president, solar materials. "Being in Taiwan gives us the advantage of bringing advanced technologies closer to clients at lower costs. It is a key strategy to our global operations."
Among SunEdison's continuing projects in Taiwan is a 500-kilowatt rooftop solar installation, which SunEdison envisions will be a viable solution for commercial and residential buildings in augmenting energy sources with renewable alternatives.
Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, SunEdison also has key operations in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Malaysia. It foresees Greater China driving the solar energy market, with the mainland playing a major role in increasingly adopting renewable solutions. It also anticipates emerging markets such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and Chile to step up efforts following advanced technologies in Europe and North America.
Illustrating SunEdison's growing global reach is its scheduled construction of a 100-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Chile's Atacama Desert in partnership with CAP, the country's biggest iron-ore mining company. With the first phase of the project slated for completion later this year, the project is expected to ultimately supply as much as 15 per cent of CAP's energy requirements and, in turn, significantly reduce the miner's consumption of fossil fuels.
The plant will be the biggest solar power generator among Chile's partially solar-powered mines. More importantly, the project will reinforce social and environmental responsibility - values that SunEdison hopes to promote as much as its products.
"SunEdison has a rich innovation capability that we bring to various countries and industries," Ranhoff says. "We want to understand what problems they are trying to solve
and goals they are trying to achieve - and work on meaningful projects where we can bring the most value because we are dedicated to transforming lives through innovation."