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Malaysia gears up to be largest solar panel maker

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar manufacturing? solar panel? thin-film solar module?

Malaysia is gearing up to be one of the largest solar panel producing countries, according to a report by The Star.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahatir, Malaysia's deputy minister of International Trade and Industry, said that through government efforts, many world-class companies have started solar manufacturing operations in the country.

Malaysia has become an ideal destination for foreign investments, Mahatir added. The country is offering a 15-year tax holiday for solar company profits, it has low interest rates and offers good infrastructures for investors such as the Kulim Hi-Tech Park.

"The reasons behind Malaysia's success are manifold. The government gives support in the form of tax breaks, loans and clear regulations," Mahatir said at First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd's 3GW Milestone Celebrations at the first solar plant at Kulim Hi-Tech Park.

Mahatir also mentioned that the event was in line with the government's policy to facilitate green technology industry growth and enhance its contribution to the national economy. He said First Solar was the first solar module manufacturing plant in Malaysia but within four years it was ablt to expand and now has six plants fully ramped up by middle of this year.

"Workforce has grown from 109 employees in 2007 to about 3,500 workers of last month. Currently, it is the largest single site for thin-film solar module manufacturing in the world, with 1.62GW capacity power worth of solar panels a year and most importantly, it has contributed $1.09 billion (RM 3.45 billion) to the local economy since starting operations.

"Today, First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd has reached an accumulative production of 3,000MW (more than 38,000 solar panels output).

"I was informed this was achieved within three years of production compared to other plants which took six to eight years," he said.

Mahatir assured that the government was committed in ensuring that Malaysia provided the best environment for investments, both domestic and foreign to thrive.

"Malaysia is in the fight against climate change. We are committed to reduce our carbon emissions. Our Prime Minister (Datuk Seir Najib Tun Razak has envisioned green technology as the new growth engine for Malaysia.

"The National Green Technology Policy has been formulated," he said.

Malaysia believes that green technology would help the country remain competitive in the international marketplace as global demand for environmentally sound products increased.

"Furthermore, our prime minister has also said green development strategies are not only due to economic considerations but we also have a moral obligation to leave behind an ecosystem that future generations can live in," Mahatir said. "With an abundance of solar energy, it was no surprise that solar energy has time and again been harnessed to meet mankind's growing needs.

"This can be an attraction to other foreign investors to come to Malaysia. The types of jobs offered are now more toward highly skilled, something expected by the government," he added.

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