Applied's Chief Executive Mike Splinter has relentlessly promoted the company's solar message, saying the company aims to sell $500 million in solar equipment by 2010.
That may not be much for a company that did $9.2 billion in revenue last year, but it is a growth area for company whose main customers—microchip makers—are seeing demand for their products slow to the high single digits.
Applied has a simple formula for calculating its potential solar market.
Gay figures the solar industry will add about 7,500 megawatts of generating capacity in 2010, while installing enough equipment to expand total capacity by about 2,000 megawatts.
It costs roughly $1.50 per watt to add capacity, so the total market for equipment to make solar cells will be around $3 billion in 2010.
Applied's $500 million target means its share of the solar equipment market will be about 17 percent.