At an event held last week in Washington D.C., European equipment suppliers and PV manufacturers discussed what a McKinsey & Company consultant described as a $1 billion to $1.5 billion market opportunity in the U.S. as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act. The U.S. market opportunity is based on an assumption that 50 GW of PV manufacturing capacity will be added by 2030, according to Lawrence Heath, a consultant at McKinsey.
While many manufacturers have broadly announced on-shoring of solar modules, cells, ingots and polysilicon, Linton appears to be the first equipment manufacturer announcing a move to the U.S. In Linton’s case, it is a move back to its roots as a U.S. manufacturer.
Linton Crystal Technologies, based in Rochester, N.Y., specializes in the design, development, and manufacture of Czochralski (CZ) furnaces for producing monocrystalline ingots for the semiconductor, machined part, and solar industries. The company also still makes diamond wire saws, which is where it began, and it makes other specialized equipment for shaping and polishing ingots and cutting them into wafers. Now Chinese owned with manufacturing facilities in China, Linton has retained the intellectual property for the CZ furnaces, which will soon be manufactured in the U.S. The company plans to break ground in Q2 2023 at a location yet to be announced.
“We’ve been working on this plan for a while now and are looking forward to reshoring manufacturing to the United States,” said Todd Barnum, president and CEO of Linton Crystal Technologies. “As a U.S. company with Chinese ownership, Linton Technologies Group, the geopolitical issues have been difficult to navigate. Our company used to manufacture in Rochester and we’re eager to get back to the United States.”
The company said it intends to establish a manufacturing center to build and demonstrate its full line of equipment. This includes CZ furnaces for monocrystalline silicon ingots, both semiconductor and solar grade, and the machines for producing solar ingots and wafers, including wire saws and polishing equipment.
Linton said its initial investment of $10M will be used to add a new facility, establish a demonstration line, and build 1 to 2 gigawatts of production capacity, all by the end of year one. Initially the workforce will grow to more than 75 employees, with a goal of growing to close to 200 by the end of year two. Back in 2008, when the company was still manufacturing in New York, it employed nearly 200 in its U.S. factory.
“I’m excited to break ground. This creates more opportunities for our employees, new employees and their families,” Barnum said. “The IRA and CHIPS Act have created the pathway for manufacturing investment to fulfill the need for U.S.-made products. We’re going to meet that demand and we have the expertise to scale rapidly.”
Linton Crystal Technologies originated in Rochester in 1952 as a wire saw manufacturer, Hamco, and through a series of purchases became Kayex, a manufacturer of CZ crystal pullers. Linton has been the exclusive owner of Kayex technology since 2013. In 2020 the company moved manufacturing to China, and Linton China raised addition capital through its public offering on the Shanghai stock exchange. The company reports that it holds several patents, with others under application.
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