Cree and NY CREATES Announce First Silicon Carbide Wafer Demonstration at SUNY Poly in Albany

October 22, 2019

Successful First Test Wafers Come Just Days After New York State & Cree Announce Partnership, Marking Start of Working Collaboration

Albany, NY – Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), the global leader in silicon carbide (SiC) technology, and New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering, and Science (NY CREATES), last week successfully completed the first silicon carbide test wafers at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) Albany campus, just days after Cree and New York State announced their historic partnership on September 23. Dedicated staff from both Cree and NY CREATES worked together on the tests, marking the start of collaborative efforts in Albany. The line tests come just weeks after Cree announced plans to develop the world's-first, 200mm SiC wafer fabrication facility near Utica: the Mohawk Valley Fab. This test is key to ensuring the qualification of the fab for ongoing production when it ramps in 2022.

"This is a small but significant step toward a very promising future for the Mohawk Valley-- signaling not only the beginning of our formal partnership with New York State, but also a preview of the groundbreaking work that is coming to the region," said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Cree. "Together, we’re really excited to grow the silicon carbide industry as we support the automotive industry’s transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles while also training the future innovative leaders of our field in the Mohawk Valley."

"We are proud to partner with and support Cree as the company begins its rapid ramp-up to full production. I am pleased to see how our team has helped to enable Cree’s successful power electronics tool line tests, including the completion of the first SiC test wafers at the Albany NanoTech Complex," said Dr. Douglas Grose, Future President of NY CREATES. "This sets the stage for Cree’s fab, which will be newly built, to effectively and efficiently produce power electronics chips to meet the need arising from the anticipated growth of the electric vehicle market, and it’s exciting to see that New York State and Cree will be at the forefront of this important manufacturing effort."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "New York State has the right pieces in place for strong business partnership—infrastructure, research expertise, and an educated workforce—so that we can help companies quickly ramp up operations. We at The State University of New York are proud to lend our assistance to Cree through the NY CREATES and SUNY Poly leadership and research teams, and look forward to involving more of our students and faculty in a short period of time."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, "Cree has hit the ground running and we look forward to the progress and partnerships that will be fostered as this innovative company continues to grow the silicon carbide industry right here in Upstate New York."

Full time staff from both organizations began working on the Albany campus of SUNY Poly in the first week after the announcement, and it’s expected that combined staffing numbers will reach up to two dozen full-time staff working on the project by mid-November. Following this milestone, the first demonstration yielding 150mm silicon carbide test wafers is expected at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus next year. Progress is also being made in the Mohawk Valley where the site of the new state-of-the-art fabrication facility is being prepared for construction to begin.

Cree has committed to create more than 600 new jobs within eight years and provide internships and research opportunities for SUNY students. The efforts help to develop an advanced manufacturing-oriented workforce development initiative across the SUNY system to prepare a 21st century workforce for the long-term, high-quality employment and advancement opportunities the new facility will present. SUNY has also committed to match up to $5 million in semiconductor-related research funding from Cree for the SUNY system.

Until the completion of the Mohawk Valley Fab, Cree is leasing space on the SUNY Poly’s Albany campus to utilize equipment purchased as part of the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium (NY-PEMC). This will support plans to be the first company to successfully transition from producing devices on 150mm silicon carbide wafers. As the fab ramps, Cree will transfer the NY-PEMC equipment and its 200mm process to the Marcy Nanocenter, adjacent to SUNY Poly’s Utica campus.

In addition to the direct jobs, Empire State Development estimates the project will generate approximately 570 indirect jobs and over $4.3 billion in total statewide economic impact over the next 20 years.

About Cree, Inc. 

Cree is an innovator of Wolfspeed® power and radio frequency (RF) semiconductors and lighting class LEDs. Cree’s Wolfspeed product portfolio includes silicon carbide materials, power-switching devices and RF devices targeted for applications such as electric vehicles, fast charging, inverters, power supplies, telecom and military and aerospace. Cree’s LED product portfolio includes blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs and lighting-class power LEDs targeted for indoor and outdoor lighting, video displays, transportation and specialty lighting applications.

For additional product and Company information, please refer to www.cree.com.

Forward Looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the timing of the transition to using silicon carbide devices in EVs; Cree’s ability to develop and design silicon carbide devices that will continue to improve performance in the EV market; the risk Cree may encounter delays or other difficulties in ramping up production in the New York fab on time, at the projected costs, to the extent of the anticipated production and hiring levels or at all; risks associated with the transition of production from 150mm to 200mm wafers; the risk that Cree may be unable to manufacture these products with sufficiently low cost to offer them at competitive prices or with acceptable margins; customer acceptance of EVs using Cree’s silicon carbide devices; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render Cree’s products obsolete; and other factors discussed in Cree’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2019, and subsequent filings.

Cree® and Wolfspeed® are registered trademarks of Cree, Inc.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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