Applied Materials opened the SunFab Technology Center, dedicated to photovoltaic research and development and next-generation solar technology applications. The 2,000-square-meter center, located in Alzenau, Germany, will serve as Applied's principal solar research and development center, and will focus on boosting module conversion efficiency while lowering production costs. The facility features state-of-the-art solar module manufacturing equipment, laser tools and fab automation software. Customers will be able to evaluate and test key systems and processes on site, and the existing crystalline silicon and thin film manufacturing capabilities in the region will be enhanced. "This center is a demonstration of Applied Materials’ commitment to accelerating the growth of the solar market, advancing photovoltaic technology and reducing the cost of solar energy," Mark Pinto, senior vice president, chief technology officer and general manager of Applied Materials’ Energy and Environmental Solutions group, said in a statement. "Located in Germany, where Applied Materials employs more than 400 people, the SunFab Center will leverage the expertise and highly skilled talent in the region as well as serve as a center of excellence to attract worldwide solar talent," added Winfried Hoffmann, chief technology officer for Applied's Solar Business Group.