Cree Inc. said it will invest up to $1 billion to expand its silicon carbide capacity by developing an automated 200 mm silicon carbide fabrication facility and materials factory in Durham, North Carolina.

The company said the planned investment marks its largest investment in its Wolfspeed silicon carbide and gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon carbide business. Upon completion in 2024, the facilities are expected to increase the company’s silicon carbide materials capability and wafer fabrication capacity, producing wide bandgap semiconductor products for the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial markets.

The company said its investment in equipment and infrastructure will represent a 30 times expansion of its silicon carbide wafer fabrication capacity and its materials production compared to 2017.

The plan calls for building out an existing structure as a 253,000 sq ft, 200 mm power and RF wafer fabrication facility. The facility is designed to be fully automotive qualified and will open by producing 150 mm wafers. The company will convert its existing Durham fabrication and materials facility into a materials mega factory.

The investment includes $450 million for its North Fab facility; $450 million for a materials mega factory; and $100 million in other spending associated with growing the business.

Cree said that it plans to work with state and local community and four-year colleges to develop training programs for employment opportunities at the new facilities.