Cree funds $1bn silicon carbide production capacity expansion

The expansion on two buildings is expected to generate up to a 30-fold increase in SiC wafer fabrication capacity and 30-fold increase in SiC materials

Build out of the North Fab in an empty building on Cree’s Durham campus

As part of its long-term growth strategy, Cree has announced it will invest up to US$1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide capacity. The investment will start with the development of a state-of-the-art, automated 200 mm silicon carbide fabrication facility and a materials mega factory at its US campus headquarters in Durham, NC.

The five-year investment leverages an existing building (“North Fab”) and refurbished 200 mm equipment to build a state-of-the-art automotive-qualified production facility.

In total, the Investment will spend $450m for North Fab; $450m for materials mega factory; and $100m in other investments associated with growing the business.

The expansion is expected to generate up to a 30-fold increase in SiC wafer fabrication capacity and a 30-fold increase in SiC materials production to meet the expected market growth by 2024. This marks the company’s largest investment to date in fueling its Wolfspeed silicon carbide and GaN on silicon carbide business.

Upon completion in 2024, the facilities will substantially increase the company’s silicon carbide materials capability and wafer fabrication capacity, allowing wide bandgap semiconductor solutions that enable the dramatic technology shifts underway within the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial markets.

This capacity upgrade comes in good time, as Cree has just signed a multi-year Wolfspeed SiC wafer supply agreement with ON semiconductor.

Cree CEO, Gregg Lowe, said: “This is the fourth major long-term agreement for silicon carbide materials that we have announced in the past year and a half. We will continue to drive silicon carbide adoption and availability through ongoing wafer supply agreements, such as this, and our recently announced major capacity expansion.”

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