Reducing the cost per Watt for solar power

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September 6, 2006 As worldwide energy demand continues to rise, the overall solar equipment market is expected to grow from approximately US$1 billion in 2006 to more than US$3 billion in 2010. Applied Materials is best known for providing equipment and services for manufacturing semiconductors and flat panel displays, but yesterday announced it is poised to enter the rapidly growing solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment market. The idea is to use bring technology and process innovations from the flat panel and semiconductor industries plus a combination of manufacturing tools, to enable customers to increase conversion efficiency and yields, helping to lower the overall cost per watt for solar electricity users. This week, Applied is exhibiting at the world's largest solar show, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Dresden, Germany, showcasing several PVD and PECVD products as well as processes, material-handling technologies and services to support solar cell production for both crystalline-silicon and thin-film solar applications.

"The solar industry has reached the inflection point that Applied Materials has been waiting for, as solar customers seek economies of scale with suppliers who can better meet their needs for global support and who can provide advanced systems that meet technology, throughput, quality and yield goals," said Mike Splinter, president and CEO. "We plan to change the cost equation for solar power through adaptation of our existing technology and new innovation in order to help make solar a more meaningful contributor to the global energy supply."

"Our solar PV products, together with our roadmap for new technology and services, provide an exciting new growth engine for Applied Materials," said Mark Pinto, senior vice president and chief technology officer. "We have assembled a team of industry veterans who, combined with our global reach and technology leadership in semiconductors and flat panel display equipment, can enable customers to move through the expected transition from small-scale 20MW-40MW factories to sophisticated gigawatt-level facilities."

This week, at the world's largest solar show, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Dresden, Germany, Applied is showcasing several PVD and PECVD products as well as processes, material-handling technologies and services to support solar cell production for both crystalline-silicon and thin-film solar applications. These include Applied Materials' ATON in-line sputtering system, which is already installed in numerous customer locations around the world and which provides quality deposition, high throughput and lower cost of ownership for both thin-film and multi- or mono-crystalline silicon. Other products highlighted at the show include Applied Materials' New Aristo in-line PVD/CVD system, PECVD technology and the SmartWeb PV roll-to-roll coater for flexible solar cell applications.

"We believe that Applied Materials is the right company, at the right time, with the right technologies to lead the next wave of solar industry growth," continued Splinter. "This is an exciting new chapter in Applied Materials' growth story, and we are confident that our experience, products and nanomanufacturing technology solutions can advance the industry and improve people's lives through cleaner, more affordable energy."

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