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North Carolina firm plans $1 billion semiconductor plant in Marcy, creating 600 jobs

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

MARCY, N.Y. — A North Carolina company on Monday announced plans to spend $1 billion to build the “world’s largest silicon carbide fabrication facility” in Marcy, near Utica.

Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) says it plans to create more than 600 full-time, “highly-skilled” technician and engineering positions at the Marcy Nanocenter on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus near Utica, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Monday news release.

Cree — a firm that manufactures power and radio frequency (RF) semiconductors, lighting-class LEDs and lighting products — plans to call its new wafer fabrication facility, “North Fab.”

It will be “complemented by its mega materials factory expansion currently underway at its Durham headquarters,” per a separate news release on the company’s website.

The project is part of the firm’s effort to “establish a silicon carbide corridor on the East Coast of the United States.”

The new fabrication facility — part of a previously announced project to “dramatically increase” capacity for its Wolfspeed silicon carbide and GaN (gallium nitride) business — will be a “bigger, highly-automated factory with greater output capability,” Cree said. Through an agreement with the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state and local agencies and entities, the decision to build in New York will allow for both “continued future expansion of capacity and significant net cost savings for Cree.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the project during a Monday visit to SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

As part of the agreement, Cree will be investing about $1 billion in construction, equipment and other related costs for the New York fab. New York state will provide a $500 million grant from Empire State Development and Cree will be eligible for additional local incentives and abatements as well as equipment and tooling from SUNY. As a result, the company expects to realize a net capital savings of about $280 million on its previously announced $1 billion capacity expansion through 2024.

In addition, it will provide 25 percent increased output compared to the previously planned facility. Ramping in 2022, the size of the new facility will be up to 480,000 square feet upon completion, about one fourth of which will be clean-room space, providing future expansion capacity as needed.

Cree contends the expansions will “further improve Cree’s competitive position in the marketplace and accelerate silicon carbide adoption across an array of high-growth industries,” per its release.

With the agreement, Cree also contends it will “continue to drive the transition” from silicon to silicon-carbide technology to meet the “increasing demand” for the company’s Wolfspeed technology that supports the growing electric vehicle (EV), 4G/5G mobile, and industrial markets.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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