* Sees solar power equipment market growing at 30 pct annually
* Hopes to boost staff in solar unit despite cutback plan
Applied Materials Inc, the world's top supplier of tools for making microchips, sees the global solar power equipment market growing at 30 percent over the next few years, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
Declining production costs, high oil prices and government incentives would likely drive that growth and create jobs in the industry, Charles Gay, vice president of Applied Materials' solar business group, said on the sidelines of a solar technology conference in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.
"We generally are looking at growth rates on the order of about 30 percent per year," said Gay, a graduate of the University of California, Riverside.
"The convergence of costs coming down rapidly ... enable the much lower cost of this technology to become commercially viable and achievable."
A greater awareness of climate change had fostered government policies, encouraging the use of clean energies like solar, he said.
"Capping that is terrific job creation opportunities that go with these technologies," Gay added.Santa Clara, California-based Applied Materials, which competes with Swiss technology group Oerlikon (OERL.VX), sees its new solar power production lines as a key growth driver and a way of offsetting the decline in revenue from semiconductors....MORE
Also from Reuters:
J.P. Morgan Securities removed semiconductor equipment makers Ultra Clean Holdings Inc (UCTT) and Mattson Technology Inc (MTSN) from its U.S. focus list, citing a "stop out" rule, while maintaining "overweight" ratings on them.
The investment bank added Applied Materials Inc (AMAT) to the list, saying it expects the company's solar business to be among the key catalysts to drive stock price outperformance over the next several years....