Semiconductor-equipment manufacturer KLA - Tencor this week offered to buy ICOS Vision Systems Corp., which makes solar-manufacturing equipment, according to Earth2Tech. And Bangalore-based Reliance Industries is considering spending more than $5 billion to set up a solar-cell manufacturing plant in Jamnagar, a city in Gujarat, India, according to Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jairam Ramesh, who added that more projects were on the way. 

This isn’t a new trend, of course. Applied Materials entered the solar market in 2006, when it bought thin-film deposition-equipment manufacturer Applied Films Corp., and then the chip-equipment company bought Italian solar-equipment maker Baccini this month (see Applied Materials’ Sunny Plan, Solar: The Thinner The Better, In Brief: More Chip Companies Turn to Solar and a post from our blogging partner Earth2Tech).

Semiconductor-equipment maker Oerlikon, formerly Unaxis, also sells thin-film solar equipment (see In Brief: Thin-Film Solar Gets Another Boost and ErSol Buys Into Thin-Film). And Micrel, a semiconductor company in San Jose, Calif., said in November it had signed a contract to produce solar cells.

Solar executives also are crossing over from other industries (click here to continue to the next section).