GT Solar announces $94m in orders

MERRIMACK – GT Solar has reached a $93.9 million deal to sell polysilicon production equipment to Powertec Energy Corp. of Taiwan for the company’s new facility.

Merrimack-based GT Solar, which sells equipment used to make solar panels, said the orders would be included in its backlog for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending July 2.

Powertec’s new facility is expected to begin production in 2012, GT Solar said.

Jeff Nestel-Patt, GT Solar’s director of marketing and communications, said the new contract is significant because “this is our first Taiwanese polysilicon customer.”

Polysilicon is the base raw material for silicon wafers, which eventually become cells that get assembled into solar panels.

GT Solar has turned a hefty profit since it went public with a $500 million initial public offering in July 2008.

In February, GT Solar raised its revenue and earnings outlook for the year on strong bookings of its manufacturing equipment for the solar power and LED industries, according to Reuters.

The company draws about 80 percent to 85 percent of its business from Asia, where the solar market is exploding and has far outpaced the United States in terms of demand.

In a press release, Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO, said, “We have a successful track record of enabling new market entrants to establish highly productive polysilicon manufacturing plants.”

Added Scott Kou, chief executive officer of Powertec Energy Corp.: “To ensure a low-risk and rapid startup of our new production facility, we wanted proven technology that could deliver high-quality material for the lowest polysilicon production costs.”