GT Solar has one hot week

MERRIMACK – GT Solar has had quite the week in sales, netting two deals worth a combined $312 million since Monday.

On Wednesday, the Merrimack-based company announced a sale worth nearly $219 million for sapphire crystallization furnaces from Chinese company Guizhou Haotian Optoelectronics Technology Co.

The order came just two days after GT Solar, which makes equipment used to make solar panels, agreed to sell $93.9 million worth of polysilicon production equipment to Powertec Energy Corp. of Taiwan for a new facility.

Shares of GT Solar climbed 10.5 percent on Wednesday following news of the $219 million order, according to Bloomberg Business Week.

Jeff Nestel-Patt, director of marketing and communications at GT Solar, said $218.9 million is a “very large order” but couldn’t confirm if the number was a record high or not.

Guizhou Haotian Optoelectronics Technology Co. plans to use the equipment to make sapphire and other crystalline products used in LED lights, which are becoming a more popular and cost-effective replacement to standard light bulbs.

“This is another example of the adoption of this technology that’s happening very rapidly,” Nestel-Patt said.

GT Solar bought Crystal Systems in July 2010 and said it would be pursuing equipment in the LED market, and the company’s latest order shows they are following through on those expectations, Nestel-Patt said.

“One of our intentions was to commercialize the technology that actually grows the crystal,” he said. “We wanted to take the furnace technology and scale that up to sell the equipment to other producers. This recent order is an example of us doing that and a proof point that the market is responding to the introduction to this type of technology.”

GT Solar also received two orders in December worth $84 million from Asian companies Jiangsu Jixing New Material Co. Ltd and Jiujiang Sapphire Tech Co., which also bought equipment for LEDs.

GT Solar said the orders would be included in its backlog for the first quarter ending July 2. The international company provides polysilicon production technology and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems for solar, LED and specialty markets.

“We were careful not to come out with a lot of bravado and projections, but we have very much exceeded our expectations,” Nestel-Patt said. “There’s a real pent-up demand and it’s nice to see that.”

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com.