Applied Materials has been one of the most forward thinking US companies when it comes to taking advantage of China's solar industry push. With so much talk of US and China as solar competitors, there are companies like Applied Materials who see opportunity. AM's Xi'an solar research facility is the best example of how they are benefiting from China's aggressive solar policies. The center is largest non-governmental solar energy research facility in the world. The 400,000 square foot complex is comprised of laboratory and office buildings as well as a complete crystalline silicon pilot process. I wrote about the center in detail last year so look for posts dated March 2010 for more info.
Another example of the growing Applied Materials connection to the country is how they are bringing the Solar Decathlon to China. This week Applied Materials signed a MOU with Beijing University, the China National Energy Administration (NEA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) to create competition program China fashioned after the highly successful US model.
Beijing University and Applied Materials, with support from the US DOE and the China NEA, will collaborate to design a program and ensure a successful implementation by 2013 of the Chinese Solar Decathlon competition that will challenge students to design and build a self-sufficient house powered by the sun. Applied has supported teams from University of Texas-Austin and Santa Clara University at previous U.S. competitions as well as being a national sponsor of the 2009 competition. Additionally, China had two universities participate in Solar Decathlon Europe and one of them, Tianjin in Shanghai, will participate in the US program in September 2011, in Washington, DC.