5N Plus' Subsidiary AZUR to Produce MWT Solar Cells Exclusively for Sierra Space

Posted  by GoPhotonics

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5N Plus, a leading global producer of specialty semiconductors and performance materials, has announced that through its wholly-owned subsidiary AZUR SPACE Solar Power, it has signed a ten-year extension to its exclusive teaming arrangement with Sierra Space, a leading U.S. based commercial space company at the forefront of space innovation and commercialization. AZUR, which was acquired by 5N Plus in 2021, is a recognized advanced technology company and manufacturer of high-efficiency solar space cells bringing over 50-years of experience and expertise developing specialty semiconductor materials for the global space industry.

Under the terms of the agreement, AZUR will produce a new solar cell, referred to as the MWT, exclusively for Sierra Space for use in the production of Sierra Space’s unique and patented Space Solar Surface Mount Technology solar array systems. This solar cell technology, developed in partnership by both companies, which enables automated production and assembly, is expected to revolutionize solar array cost of assembly, resiliency and power density. The MWT solar cells enable arrays with higher power density, reducing the size of the arrays for equivalent power of a conventional design, and are more cost-effective when completing the laydown to satellite solar power arrays. The automation enables Sierra Space to deliver solar power arrays with less than one-half the conventional array lead times. In addition, the panel configurations can be easily modified for specific applications and accommodate a wide range of power levels, from a few watts to Megawatts.

“This strategic agreement is the culmination of several years of collaboration between AZUR and Sierra Space and we are extremely proud to begin a commercial relationship with a space industry innovator. AZUR continues to expand its global client base as the partner of choice in high-end solar cell technology, further reinforcing 5N Plus’ leadership as a trusted partner for the supply of critical specialty semiconductor materials for sectors powering the future both on Earth and in space,” said Gervais Jacques, President and CEO of 5N Plus.

This innovation comes at a time when demand for solar power for space applications is rapidly accelerating and expected to exceed current available capacity. According to independent market studies, the global space power market is expected to increase approximately tenfold by 2030 from 2019 levels, with solar cells representing the largest growth outlook.

“This agreement will be incremental to AZUR’s earnings/revenues, which are expected to become more meaningful over time as we mutually ramp up capacity to meet the growing demand in this critical sector. This aligns with our long-term strategy of focusing on value-added markets that present strong opportunities to leverage our expertise and expand our total addressable markets,” added Mr. Jacques.

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