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Profiles of high-tech hub companies Soraa, Silevo

Soraa and Silevo

A quick look at the companies planning to invest $750 million apiece in the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub @ RiverBend.


– Soraa develops and makes lighting systems based on an advance in LED technology that is said to make illumination systems brighter and more cost-effective.

– Its LED lighting was developed in house.

– Those three professors, Shuji Nakamura, Steven DenBaars and James Speck, founded Soraa in 2008 in Goleta, Calif.

– The company is now based in Fremont – Silicon Valley – and has about 250 employees, according to an interview printed in February in the Edison Report, a website about the lighting industry.

– Soraa, meaning sky in Japanese, had raised some $100 million to further its growth.

– The company has won nearly $8 million in contracts from the federal Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy.


– Silevo, also based in Fremont, Calif., produces cheaper, higher-efficiency solar panels.

– It was founded in the summer of 2007 by a pair of executives from Applied Materials Inc., Zheng Xu and Jianming Fu.

– The company received $3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to further develop its proprietary solar cell technology called Triex.

– It claimed about 200 employees in the United States in 2012.

– Silevo has production facilities in Fremont but maintains a low-cost, high-volume factory in Hangzhou, China.

– Silevo announced in June that it was seeking to build a production plant in the United States to grab more market share domestically and avoid shipping costs and anti-dumping fees on products from China.

– Silevo, according to Bloomberg News, also was considering building a third plant in Europe or the Middle East.

– During a conference in June in Munich, Germany, the company announced the industry’s first greater-than-350 watt-peak solar module made with 72 of Silevo’s Triex 156 mm solar cells.