Thursday, July 22, 2010
AMAT Chops 500, Retreats From Thin Film Solar
Santa Clara-based Applied Materials said Wednesday that it is restructuring its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) unit, resulting in a loss of 500 jobs, and discontinuation of the firm's thin film efforts. Accordingt o AMAT, the restructuring will save it at least $100M in annualized costs. AMAT said it will instead focus the unit on crystalline silicon solar and advanced energy, including light emitting diode (LED) technology. The unit had been a supplier of manufacturing equipment for thin-film solar panels via its SunFab equipment line. The firm said it will continue to offer individual tools for sale, but will not offer its fully integrated lines to customers. AMAT said the move came because the thin film market has been "negatively impacted" by issues such as delays in utility-scale solar adoption, solar panel manufacturers' challenges in obtaining affordable capital, changes and uncertainty in government renewable energy policies, and competitive pressure from crystalline silicon technologies.