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U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Preliminary Terms with Rogue Valley Microdevices to Support the Construction of New Foundry

Proposed Investment Would Nearly Triple Production Capacity per Month

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and Rogue Valley Microdevices (RVM) have signed a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) to provide up to $6.7 million in proposed direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. The proposed CHIPS investment would support the construction of RVM’s pure play microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensor foundry facility in Palm Bay, Florida, and is estimated to nearly triple RVM’s manufacturing capacity. MEMS are microscale devices that integrate electrical and mechanical components; their integration with semiconductor components across a wide range of applications enables technology advancements and improved performance. RVM is one of the only U.S.-based pure play MEMS foundries which specializes in the high-mix, low-volume wafer and MEMS foundry services that are important to the defense industrial base and to the biomedical industry. With this proposed investment, the Biden-Harris Administration would be supporting a reliable, domestic supply of MEMS devices manufactured on 300mm wafers, further strengthening U.S. supply chain resilience while creating over 75 jobs in the state of Florida.

“The proposed investment in RVM is another example of how the Biden-Harris Administration is making targeted investments across the semiconductor supply chain to reignite U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Because of President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act, we are working to secure U.S.-based companies a stable, domestic supply of MEMS technology when demand is increasing across the globe.”

“This investment in Rogue Valley Microdevices is another demonstration of President Biden’s commitment to America’s semiconductor comeback – benefitting businesses of all sizes, including women and minority-owned businesses, and creating jobs in communities throughout the country,” said National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard.

“As one of the only U.S. based MEMS foundries, RVM is positioned to support the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem with its 300mm MEMS foundry services. President Biden’s bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act is ensuring the United States continues to lead in technological leadership and RVM’s facility in Florida will support this effort,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Laurie E. Locascio.

“As the first MEMS foundry to secure proposed CHIPS and Science Act funding, Rogue Valley Microdevices is deeply committed to the onshore manufacturing of advanced microelectronics. We plan to use this capital infusion to increase production of the miniature, intelligent sensors that are critical to markets for which a robust supply chain is essential, including automotive, biomedical, and industrial. We’ll also ramp expansion from our west coast foundry in Oregon to our new location on the Space Coast of Florida, which will soon become the industry’s first MEMS pure-play foundry to offer 300mm capability,” said Rogue Valley Microdevices Founder and CEO Jessica Gomez.

The proposed CHIPS investment would support the construction of the facility including the renovation of the clean room and equipment installation. RVM’s first wafers produced at the Palm Bay, Florida, facility are expected to ship in early 2025, with final completion of the facility to be completed by mid 2025. Additionally, RVM intends to establish on-site child care and seeks to partner with a local child care provider to deliver STEM-based early child care education and after school academic support.

This is the first proposed CHIPS investment in a women- and minority-owned business. The proposed investment also highlights the important role smaller businesses play in the semiconductor ecosystem, especially in the development and innovation of specialized technologies such as MEMS.

The company has also indicated that it plans to claim the Department of the Treasury’s Investment Tax Credit, which is expected to be up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures. RVM has received state and federal support for the construction of its facility, including $5 million from a Florida Department of Commerce loan and $3.2 million from other state and incentives and additional grants.

As explained in its first Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Department may offer applicants a PMT on a non-binding basis after satisfactory completion of the merit review of a full application. The PMT outlines key terms for a potential CHIPS incentives award, including the amount and form of the award. The award amounts are subject to due diligence and negotiation of award documents and are conditional on the achievement of certain milestones. After the PMT is signed, the Department begins a comprehensive due diligence process on the proposed projects and continues negotiating or refining certain terms with the applicant. The terms contained in any final award documents may differ from the terms of the PMT being announced today.

About CHIPS for America

CHIPS for America has announced up to $29.5 billion in proposed funding across eleven preliminary memoranda of terms to revitalize America’s semiconductor industry. These proposed CHIPS for America investments are already delivering significant results, including unlocking more than $300 billion in public and private investment between now and the end of the decade – far and away the most investment in new production in the history of the U.S. semiconductor industry.   

Earlier this year, Secretary Raimondo announced that we anticipate that America will produce 20% of the world’s leading-edge chips by the end of the decade, meaning our innovation capacity will no longer be as vulnerable to supply chain disruptions as it is today. The Semiconductor Industry Association released a report saying that America is on track to triple its domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity from 2022 – when the CHIPS and Science Act was enacted – to 2032. The projected 204% growth is the largest projected percent increase in the world over that time. 

With these announcements, America now has four of the world’s five leading-edge companies aggressively expanding on our shores. No other economy in the world has more than two of these companies producing leading-edge chips on its shores. 

The Department has received more than 670 statements of interest, more than 230 pre-applications and full applications for NOFO 1, and more than 160 small supplier concept plans for NOFO 2. The Department is continuing to conduct rigorous evaluation of applications to determine which projects will advance U.S. national and economic security, attract more private capital, and deliver other economic benefits to the country. The announcement with RVM is the twelfth PMT announcement the Department of Commerce has made under the CHIPS and Science Act, with additional PMT announcements expected to follow throughout 2024. 

CHIPS for America is part of President Biden’s economic plan to invest in America, stimulate private sector investment, create good-paying jobs, make more in the United States, and revitalize communities left behind. CHIPS for America includes the CHIPS Program Office, responsible for manufacturing incentives, and the CHIPS Research and Development Office, responsible for R&D programs, that both sit within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is uniquely positioned to successfully administer the CHIPS for America program because of the bureau’s strong relationships with U.S. industries, its deep understanding of the semiconductor ecosystem, and its reputation as fair and trusted. Visit https://www.chips.gov to learn more.

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