Applied Materials to expand thin-film, c-Si R&D facility in China

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Applied Materials is set to expand its ‘SunFab’ thin-film module and c-Si testing and R&D facility in Xi’an, China, after a tour at the facility, which was opened in 2008 by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang. Claimed to be the first facility of its kind in China, Applied Materials said it had recently broken ground on phase two of its new ‘Global Solar R&D Center,’ which will include R&D, engineering, demonstration, validation and training for both crystalline silicon and thin-film solar equipment and processes.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for the United States and China to work together to our mutual benefit and to make solar a more meaningful part of the energy supply of both countries,” said Charles Gay, President of Applied Solar and co-chair of the Renewable Energy Working Group for the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum. “With the government’s support and commitment we can help make solar a more affordable option and grow the market for solar panels throughout China.”

At the recent 5th China SoG Silicon and PV Power Conference (5th CSPV), held in conjunction with SOLARCON China, Chinese PV leaders pushed for greater internal demand for solar energy deployment as part of the stimulus packages as the majority of PV products that include, wafers, cells and modules are exported.

“Vice Premier Li’s visit to Applied underscores the importance the Chinese government is placing on renewable energy and in particular solar,” said Barry Quan, President of Applied Materials China. “We are honored that he chose to visit our facility and look forward to working closely with the government in Xi’an and at the national level to help accelerate the utilization of solar throughout China.”

CAPTION: China Vice Premier Li Keqiang (front centre) leans forward to watch as an engineer (sitting) demonstrates sophisticated tests being performed on solar panels at the Applied Materials SunFab Solar Module Reliability Testing facility, Xi’an, China. Also viewing the demonstration are: Shaanxi Governor Yuan Chunqing (front 2nd right); Xi’an Party Secretary Sun Qingyun (front right); Gang Zou, General Manager of Applied Materials Xi’an (front 2nd left); and Barry Quan, President of Applied Materials China (front 3rd right).

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