ST takes additional steps to secure a supply of silicon carbide wafers.
Cree and STMicroelectronics have expanded and extended an existing multi-year, long-term silicon carbide (SiC) wafer supply agreement to more than $500 million. The extended agreement is a doubling in value of the original agreement announced earlier this year for the supply of Cree’s advanced 150mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers to STMicroelectronics over the next several years.
ST is gradually building up both internal expertise and capacity throughout the whole supply chain as well as working with third parties, such as Cree. Last month it said it intended to acquire the remaining 45% stake in SiC wafer supplier Norstel to bolster internal capacity. The increased wafer supply will help address growing demand for SiC power devices globally particularly for automotive and industrial applications, according to ST.
“Expanding our long-term wafer supply agreement with Cree will increase the flexibility of our global silicon carbide substrate supply. It will further contribute to securing the required volume of substrate we need to manufacture our SiC-based products as we ramp up production over the next years for the increasing number of programs won at automotive and industrial customers,” said Jean-Marc Chery, president and CEO of STMicroelectronics.
The CEO of Cree, Gregg Lowe, added, “Silicon carbide delivers performance enhancements that are critical to electric vehicles and a host of next-generation industrial solutions for solar, energy storage and UPS systems. He said Cree was committed to leading the semiconductor industry’s transition from silicon to silicon carbide, and the extension of the agreement with ST would ensure its ability to meet accelerating global demand.
The adoption of silicon carbide-based power solutions is rapidly growing across the automotive market as the industry seeks to accelerate its move from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, enabling greater system efficiencies that result in electric cars with longer range and faster charging, while reducing cost, lowering weight and conserving space. In the industrial market, silicon carbide modules enable smaller, lighter and more cost-effective inverters, converting energy more efficiently to unlock new clean energy applications.