Intel doesn’t want to be left out of the next big thing, namely solar power. So, the company has put up $50 million and gathered other investors to help set up SpectraWatt, Inc, a spinoff company that will manufacture solar cells and work to improve solar cell manufacturing to cut the cost of solar power. Construction on the Oregon-based factory starts this summer, and solar panel makers can start getting products shipped to them about a year from now.
Intel is one smart cookie, paying attention to the fact that solar is approaching the cost of traditional electricity-generation technologies. The company says it expects the solar industry to grow 30-40% in the next few years. Knowing that it takes more than just a few solar cells to get electricity to users, Intel has also invested in Grid Net, a smart-grid company that brokers communication between utilities and customers. This shows that Intel gets it – IT companies have a role to play in clean teach and renewable power, as creators, networkers and purchasers.
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