Wolfspeed, Inc. will build a new, state-of-the-art, multi-billion-dollar materials manufacturing facility in Chatham County, NC. The investment is targeted to generate a more than tenfold increase from Wolfspeed’s current Silicon Carbide production capacity at its Durham campus, supporting the company’s long-term growth strategy, accelerating the adoption of Silicon Carbide semiconductors across a wide array of end-markets, and unlocking a new era of energy efficiency.
“Wolfspeed is the industry leader in supplying the materials required to meet the accelerating demand for next generation semiconductors and creating a more sustainable future for all,” said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Wolfspeed. “Demand for our products continues to grow at a rapid pace, and the industry continues to be supply constrained. Expanding our Materials production will further our market leadership and allow us to better serve the growing needs of our customers. We are particularly excited and proud to not only expand Wolfspeed’s footprint in our home state of North Carolina, but also further our relationship with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to nurture our best-in-class talent pool.”
Phase one construction is anticipated to be completed in 2024 and cost approximately $1.3 billion. Between 2024 and the end of the decade, the company will add additional capacity as needed, eventually occupying more than one million square feet on the 445-acre site.
The facility will primarily produce 200mm Silicon Carbide wafers, which are 1.7x larger than 150mm wafers, translating into more chips per wafer and ultimately, lower device costs. These wafers will be used to supply Wolfspeed’s Mohawk Valley Fab, which opened earlier this year as the world’s first, largest and only fully automated 200mm Silicon Carbide fabrication facility.
State and local funding, including a Job Development Investment Grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, will support the development of the facility’s first phase and represents an approximately $1 billion incentive package from state, county and local governments. In addition, the company hopes to apply for and obtain federal funding from the CHIPS and Science Act to accelerate the construction and build-out of the facility. Over the next eight years, the company intends to continue to invest, looking to create roughly 1,800 jobs.
“Wolfspeed’s decision further validates North Carolina as the epicenter of clean energy,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This is another milestone in our drive toward a clean energy economy as it will boost electric vehicle manufacturing and offshore wind while fighting climate change and putting money in the pockets of every day North Carolinians with great paying jobs.”
The company’s talent development strategy is complemented by its continued partnership with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T). In 2020, Wolfspeed committed $4 million over five years to the HBCU, at the time the single largest donation in the university’s history, to create the Wolfspeed Endowed Scholars Program. The two entities aim to establish comprehensive education and training curricula and cutting-edge research and innovation programs. This partnership will open opportunities for undergraduate and graduate credentials in Silicon Carbide semiconductor manufacturing, as well as training and career advancement programs for existing semiconductor manufacturing workers.
Elsewhere in North Carolina…
- Sunlight Batteries USA Inc., a manufacturer of lithium-ion and other high-performance batteries, will invest $40 million to expand its North Carolina operations into Alamance County. The Athens, Greece-based company will create more than 130 jobs in its new facility in Mebane.
“Sunlight’s expansion in Mebane is yet another milestone in our growth plan for the U.S. market,” said Todd Sechrist, CEO of Sunlight Batteries USA. “The 134,000-square-feet facility will create over 130 new jobs in Alamance County and will serve the region by bringing lithium-ion batteries and battery charging solutions to the Americas market. We appreciate the confidence the state of North Carolina and the community has in Sunlight as a partner in the green economy and decarbonized energy.
- Live Oak Bank, a digitally-focused bank, will create 204 new jobs in New Hanover County. The Wilmington-based company will invest $25 million in Wilmington to expand its campus and workforce to support the financial needs of American small business owners.
“Live Oak Bank is proud to call Wilmington home. With more than 900 employees working toward our mission to be America’s small business bank, we are grateful for the support of city, county and state officials for powerful capital investments that will help grow fintech jobs in our community and bring hundreds of dedicated Live Oakers to our campus,” said Live Oak Chairman and CEO James S. (Chip) Mahan, III.
“North Carolina A&T is proud to partner with Wolfspeed to provide new opportunities to pursue the next generation of careers in the green economy, drive innovation and explore new possibilities,” said N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. “Throughout our rich history as a doctoral, land-grant university and the largest historically Black university in the country, we have believed in the power of our students to change the world. Our expanded partnership with Wolfspeed will allow us to change the world together, and I am incredibly excited for what is to come.”