Alt-Energy Should Boost Demand for Chips

by: Robert Castellano

Despite a sluggish forecast for the overall high-tech industry in the near term, alternative energies technologies are expected to grow at up to a 40% annual rate through 2012, and semiconductors used in these applications will see a comparable growth.

Renewable, alternative energy technologies continue to grab the attention of private industries and world governments. Semiconductors are used in these technologies to convert the energy or power to something functional, such as converting solar energy into electricity.

Semiconductors used in products such as inverters, include MOSFETs, IGBTs, SiC, microcontrollers, DSPs, and discretes. Leading manufacturers of inverters include SMA Solar Technology (OTCPK:SMTGF), Fronius, and Xantrex (OTC:XARXF). Companies manufacturing the chips include Dynex, International Rectifier (NYSE:IRF), IXYS (Nasdaq:IXYS), Kansai, Microsemi (Nasdaq:MSCC), National Semiconductor (NYSE:NSM), SemiSouth, and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN)

In our analysis, we have calculated that the semiconductor market in 2008 for solar, wind, and fuel cell technologies was nearly $800 million and will more than double to nearly $2 billion in 2012. This represents an opportunity not only for semiconductor companies but suppliers of semiconductor equipment and materials to address these growth areas.