An Unmatched Renewable Resource: American Ingenuity

Some positive signals from Washington this week: President Obama has rolled out a new strategy to develop a cleaner and more diversified energy portfolio.

In a speech at Georgetown University, President Obama called for reducing oil imports by at least one-third by 2025 – through improved fuel economy standards, energy efficiency and alternative forms of energy, such as solar, wind, biofuels and natural gas.

The President also built on his State of the Union speech with renewed calls for cleaner electricity generation, and a goal of requiring that 80% of electricity come from cleaner sources by 2035. Applied Materials applauds President Obama for his continued commitment to fostering the nation’s clean technology industry – and strongly support a plan for a clean energy standard that fosters solar deployment. We agree that renewable energy and clean technology is the key to our country’s future competitiveness.

The good news is that solar is already delivering results. Earlier this month, the Solar Energy Industries Association reported that the U.S. solar industry generated $6 billion in revenue last year, a 67% growth rate over 2009’s revenue of $3.6 billion. Today, the industry employs more than 100,000 people across the country.

Applied Materials is proud to play its part in the solar industry’s success. We are the world’s leading equipment supplier to the photovoltaic industry. And we continue to push the envelope, developing innovative solutions that help drive down the cost-per-watt of manufacturing for the world’s most powerful solar cells.

But as the President cautioned, we’re still playing catch-up with the rest of the world when it comes to clean energy. Without a strong policy framework in place – such as manufacturing tax credits, grant programs and low-cost financing – we risk falling further behind countries like China, Germany, Italy and Japan. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress continue funding for the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E and loan guarantee program as it considers the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2012. The renewable energy industry needs certainty as we invest billions in researching, developing and deploying the clean energy solutions of tomorrow.

The President reminded the nation that we boast one renewable resource the world can’t match: American ingenuity. We agree.

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