This afternoon, California Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to officially dedicate the 2 MW solar system that covers carports down at Applied Material’s Sunnyvale, Calif., office. The solar system was completed in late September and at the time was touted as “the largest solar power deployment at a corporate facility in the United States.” Schwarzenegger is also using the opportunity to give a keynote address to an investor forum showing investors and companies how they can partner with California to boost cleantech in the state.
California is already leading the cleantech boom in the United States. According to the Cleantech Group, California-based startups brought in a record $1.1 billion in 35 investments in the third quarter of this year, which was 42 percent of U.S cleantech investments and was more than the total investments in Europe, China and India combined. At the same time Silicon Valley is quickly turning into Solar Valley, with startups like Nanosolar and SoloPower building plants in San Jose and venture capitalists investing massive funds into Bay Area companies like Solyndra and Miasole.
Applied Materials isn’t a startup, of course, but the chip equipment maker has been betting on the gear that makes solar in a big way. President and CEO Mike Splinter, who will also be speaking at the event this afternoon, announced the company’s move into PV manufacturing equipment back in late 2006. Since then the company has been buying up smaller solar hardware makers (spending around $1 billion on acquisitions) and some analysts predict that the company’s solar revenue could reach $1.2 billion next year.