Natcore Technology Inc.

Natcore Technology Inc.

February 22, 2010 08:00 ET

Natcore Signs Agreement With Chinese Consortium to Take Its Solar Technology From Lab to Power Grid

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2010) - Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX VENTURE:NXT)(PINK SHEET:NTCXF) ("Natcore" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with a consortium in China to form a joint venture company to develop and manufacture film-growth equipment and materials using Natcore's proprietary Liquid Phase Deposition (LPD) technology.

Natcore has signed a letter of intent with the Zhuzhou Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone ("Hi-Tech Zone") to form a new company, "Natcore China", with rights to manufacture anti-reflective (AR) film growth equipment and materials. Natcore China will be 55% owned by Natcore Technology, with the Hi-Tech Zone and its partners ("Chinese Partnership") holding the remaining 45% ownership position.

"This agreement is a major milestone in the growth of Natcore Technology," notes President and CEO Chuck Provini. "Not only does it fully fund our remaining research, development and production costs for AR film equipment, but it immediately plugs us into a network of end users in a country that is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing producers of solar cells. In short, it helps move us out of the lab and closer to achieving our goal of making solar energy efficient enough to be affordable to the world."

Natcore China will be funded by an initial $3 million investment consisting of $500,000 contributed by Natcore Technology, and $2,500,000 contributed by the Chinese Partnership. (All amounts in U.S. dollars.) Natcore China will have the exclusive right to develop, manufacture and sell AR film-growth equipment in China, and a three-year exclusive right to manufacture such equipment for sale outside of China. Natcore Technology and the Chinese Partnership have begun drafting a definitive agreement incorporating the principles reflected in the executed letter of intent. Completion of the agreements is subject to regulatory approval.

The Chinese Partnership will consist of the Zhuzhou Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone and two Chinese firms, including a major producer of polysilicon and a manufacturer of industrial equipment used in the solar industry. Natcore's partners project that the joint venture company will eventually create as many as 500 jobs in manufacturing and R&D.

Key elements of the joint venture include:

  • Majority, 55% control of the joint venture company by Natcore Technology.
  • Operation in China as a local company, with all intellectual property protections accruing to such a position.
  • Natcore Technology funds 17% of joint venture; with the Chinese Partnership contributing 83%.
  • A fast-track development program initiated upon signing of a definitive agreement, with a projected timeline of 10 months to first product shipments.
  • Early integration of Natcore's LPD film-growth technology into existing solar cell production lines, in advance of final equipment development.
  • The ability to fast-track revenues by accepting lead orders in China and throughout the world.

"We had always envisioned a joint venture operation in China as part of our long-term business plan, after we had completed development of our AR film growth equipment," notes Brien Lundin, Natcore's Chairman and co-founder. "But well before that could come to pass, we were approached by the Hi-Tech Zone with their offer to completely fund our AR film growth development program, and give us majority ownership in the joint venture."

"We will retain control, enjoy a ready-made customer network and open up new avenues for funding of potential future joint ventures," he adds. "It was an opportunity we couldn't refuse."

Under the agreement, Natcore China will complete the engineering and production of self-contained, self-replenishing film-growth equipment that will recycle the chemicals and water used in Natcore's LPD process. In advance of this, however, the Chinese Partnership envisions the incorporation of the technology into existing manufacturing lines through manual replenishment of the chemical bath. In this way, Natcore China would be able to serve its first customers, which may include members of the Chinese Partnership, before final product development is completed.

One of the key advantages of the Natcore LPD process is its relatively low environmental impact. "Pollution control and toxicity are very big issues in China now," says Provini. "Our ability to not only reduce the cost of solar cell manufacturing, but to also do so in a much more environmentally friendly manner, is a very important benefit to our new partners and their customers."

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Charles Provini, President & Chief Executive Officer

Statements in this press release other than purely historical factual information, including statements relating to revenues or profits, or the Company's future plans and objectives, or expected sales, cash flows, and capital expenditures constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions and are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties inherent in the Company's business, including risks inherent in the technology history. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on such statements. Except in accordance with applicable securities laws, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking statements that are incorporated by reference herein.

About Natcore Technology Inc.

Natcore Technology is the exclusive licensee, from Rice University, of a thin-film growth technology enabling room-temperature growth of various silicon oxides on silicon wafers in a liquid phase deposition (LPD) process. Although the implications of this discovery for semiconductors and fiber optics are significant and wide-ranging, the technology has immediate and compelling applications in the solar sector. Specifically, the Company's LPD process could enable silicon solar cell manufacturers to significantly reduce manufacturing costs and increase throughput, and has the potential to allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells with double the power output of today's most efficient devices.

Having been independently tested and verified by one of the world's most respected science and technology laboratories, Natcore's technology is now in the process of being commercialized. Our goal: to make stand-alone solar energy competitive with conventional power generation.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any of the securities in the United States. The securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended ("the U.S. Securities Act") or any state securities law and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to U.S. Persons unless registered under the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws or an exemption from such registration is available.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information