Amtech reports dip in quarterly solar equipment orders and revenues

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Solar, semiconductor and LED equipment maker Amtech Systems today reported results for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2016, showing more than 50% drop in orders for solar equipment from the previous quarter to US$13 million. The company also reported $19 million in solar revenue, and its solar backlog fell from $51 million to $45 million.

Amtech cites “significant fluctuation” from quarter to quarter in solar orders, and says that this decline is not indicative of larger trends. This is supported by data showing a 15% increase in solar orders over the last three quarters to $64 million, $38 million in solar shipments, and a healthy book-to-bill ratio of 1.7:1.

Amtech has two subsidiaries that make solar equipment: Tempress, which specializes in plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) systems, and SoLayTec, which makes Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) equipment for passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) PV cells. Amtech CEO Fokko Pentinga notes that the company is offering equipment for the most popular high-efficiency cell designs, including n-type monocrystalline cells.

Pentinga also estimates that the company currently has around 2 GW of orders for PECVD and ALD PERC systems from its customers which it describes as “leading edge, top-tier Asian PV manufacturers”. “We have good momentum going with PECVD and ALD,” notes Pentinga.

On its quarterly earnings call Amtech estimated that 76% of its shipments are going to Asia. However this was not broken down by business, and roughly half of Amtech’s sales are in the LED and semiconductor industries.

Today Amtech also announced that Tempress received an order for PECVD systems in July, which was not reported in its Q3 results. These systems will support 400 MW of capacity for a “top tier solar cell manufacturer” in Asia. The company expects to ship the systems the next six to nine months, and the order brings Amtech’s PECVD backlog alone to 1.4 GW.

Amtech declined to supply a financial value for this order.