Semiconductor maker Cree Inc. will invest up to $1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide capacity with the development of an automotive-qualified 200mm silicon carbide fabrication plant and a “materials mega-factory” in Durham, N.C. The project will increase the company’s wafer fabrication capacity by a factor of 30 compared to Q1 of fiscal year 2017, CEO Gregg Lowe said in a statement.

The project will build out an empty existing facility at a cost of $450 million. Another $450 million will be invested in creating the mega-factory and converting a smaller fab into a second crystal-growth factory. Design and construction partners for the project have not yet been selected.

Construction is expected to begin in 2019 as soon as permitting is complete, a spokeswoman says. Project completion is scheduled in 2024.