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Renesas and Wolfspeed sign 10-year silicon carbide wafer supply agreement; $2B downpayment

Renesas Electronics, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Wolfspeed have executed announced the execution of a wafer supply agreement and US$2-billion deposit by Renesas to secure a 10-year supply commitment of silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers from Wolfspeed.

The supply of high-quality silicon carbide wafers from Wolfspeed will pave the way for Renesas to scale production of silicon carbide power semiconductors starting in 2025.

The decade-long supply agreement calls for Wolfspeed to provide Renesas with 150mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers scaling in CY2025, reinforcing the companies’ vision for an industry-wide transition from silicon to silicon carbide semiconductor power devices. The agreement also anticipates supplying Renesas with 200mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers after the recently announced John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide (the JP) is fully operational.

The need for more efficient power semiconductors, which supply and manage electricity, is dramatically increasing throughout automotive and industrial applications, spurred by the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy. Renesas is moving quickly to address the growing demand for power semiconductors by expanding its in-house manufacturing capacity. The company recently announced the restart of its Kofu Factory to produce IGBTs, and establishment of a silicon carbide production line at its Takasaki Factory.

Compared to conventional silicon power semiconductors, silicon carbide devices enable higher energy efficiency, greater power density and a lower system cost. In an increasingly energy-conscious world, the adoption of silicon carbide is becoming ever more pervasive across multiple high-volume applications spanning EVs, renewable energy and storage, charging infrastructure, industrial power supplies, traction and variable speed drives.

The Renesas $2-billion deposit will help support Wolfspeed’s ongoing capacity construction projects including the JP, the world’s largest silicon carbide materials factory in Chatham County, North Carolina. The multi-billion-dollar facility is targeted to generate a more than 10-fold increase from Wolfspeed’s current silicon carbide production capacity on its Durham, North Carolina campus. The facility will produce primarily 200mm silicon carbide wafers, which are 1.7x larger than 150mm wafers, translating into more chips per wafer and ultimately, lower device costs.

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