Recently Applied Materials hosted a high-level solar delegation fromMalaysia at our Santa Clara, California headquarters. Malaysia, likemany other developing countries, is at a crossroad of deciding how tobalance fast-growing energy needs with environmental concerns, energysecurity and economic development.
Until today, Malaysia has prioritized industry and economicdevelopment. Now it is set to expand its solar industry, from producingsolar panels to producing solar power. Malaysia is already home tolarge scale production facilities of three leading photovoltaic (PV)module manufacturers: SunPower, Q-Cells and First Solar.
As the world moves towards a greener future, Malaysia is taking alook at the other side of the equation: sustainability. This is drivingthe Ministry of Energy to invest in a new portfolio of greentechnologies. The delegation, led by the Malaysian Energy Centre, isrecommending a policy framework for renewable energy adoption. A livelydiscussion ensued between Malaysia’s top policy makers and Dr. WinfriedHoffmann, chief technology officer of Applied’s Energy andEnvironmental Energy Solutions (EES) and Display businesses, andpresident of the European PV Industry Association (EPIA) over themerits of clean energy.
Thedelegation also toured our 5.7m2 solar PV research installation andspoke with John Antone, corporate vice president, Marketing, EES andDisplay Products businesses, on how Applied’s fab2farm business modelfor solar deployment can help Malaysia adopt renewable energy whilesimultaneously developing a strong green technology industry.
An interesting highlight of the visit was to see how similarMalaysia’s industrialization and environmental experience is to that ofChina’s. Both countries excel in low-cost volume manufacturing and havebenefited from globalization. And now, they are both on the path toturning this strength into solving their energy and environmental goals.
It is clearly not an easy task to challenge their country’s energystatus quo — existing fuel oil generation incumbents and a national oilcompany — however, from the confidence of the delegation, theMalaysians certainly look ready to tackle the task of creating acleaner sustainable future, one step at a time.