Panasonic starts work on Malaysian PV facility

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Panasonic’s Malaysian subsidiary, established last December, held a ground breaking ceremony and exchanged the Land Lease Agreement for the facility with the Kedah state government, on Friday, March 2 at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park, in Malaysia’s Kedah.

While construction will begin immediately on the around 70,000 square meter building, the plan is to start manufacturing the Panasonic HIT photovoltaic modules by this coming December (as of April 1, 2012, Sanyo’s HIT modules will be rebranded Panasonic). Overall, 300 MW worth of solar wafers, cells and modules will be produced annually by approximately 1,500 employees. A total of 1.84 billion ringgit (around US$552.6 million; €418 million) has been invested into the facility.

Panasonic says Malaysia was chosen as the ideal manufacturing site, due to the Malaysian government’s "cooperative investment support, as well as good infrastructure and excellent work force quality".

The facility represents Panasonic’s first integrated production of wafers, cells, and modules. The company says it will sell its solar modules both individually and also in a system with storage batteries and other devices. "Further, Panasonic will accelerate its solar business development globally in collaboration with Comprehensive Energy Solutions Business brought together by the Panasonic group companies," it said in a statement released.

Dato’ Seri Ustaz Azizan Abdul Razak, Kedah State Menteri Besar, commented, "With growing environmental awareness, the expectation for solar power generation is rising worldwide. Based on the close and friendly relationship we have built with Panasonic Corporation, the Kedah state and Malaysian government will support its new manufacturing base and solar business, which I believe will create new job opportunities and will lead to further economic development of Malaysia."