Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron are merging to become a $29 billion chip equipment maker as the semiconductor industry undergoes a radical shift. Here’s what’s behind the deal.
A startup making smart windows that can tint and block light, Sage Electrochromics, has been acquired by French glass and construction giant Saint-Gobain. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Solyndra bankruptcy has helped to fuel resentment toward China for its generous subsidies of Chinese solar companies. That resentment has morphed into petitions filed Wednesday that ask the U.S. government to investigate Chinese companies for allegedly flooding the U.S. market with goods below costs.
Are there still opportunities for tech innovation for solar cells, now that solar panels are rapidly becoming commoditized? California startup Silevo thinks it has a shot with a hybrid solar cell design and a plan to build its first factory in China.
The sale season is on for solar. SpectraWatt, which filed for bankruptcy last month, plans to hold a live auction of its silicon solar factory equipment on Sept. 28. Others will follow.
What has to happen for the solar industry to recover from the slump? That’s been on the minds of manufacturers, service providers and investors in recent months as solar panels were piling up in warehouses and prices were falling faster than a Russian rocket.
Solar companies haven’t fared well so far this year, so it’s not surprisingly that Applied Materials, which makes factory equipment for solar, also has seen drops in sales. The company reported on Wednesday a 12-percent fall in sales between its two most recent quarters.
Applied Materials had a blockbuster quarter in its solar business in the most recent quarter, but its dim market outlook points reflects changes that aren’t good for manufacturers but great for project developers.
Applied Materials refocused its solar business last year to concentrate on serving manufacturers of silicon-based equipment, and it’s continuing that strategy with Wednesday’s announcement to buy Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates for about $4.9 billion.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu stopped by Google headquarters on Friday to talk about green technology. He would like China to invest in America’s green future, not own it. To challenge China’s growing lead, the U.S. may have to boost its support of homegrown technologies.