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GEORGE TOWN: Panasonic Corp will invest RM1.85bil in its latest solar manufacturing facility in Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP).
The company will be leasing a 60-acre site from KHTP for the facility.
According to sources, Panasonic is now negotiating to finalise the lease payment, which will be a one-time payment, to lease the land for 60 years and an option to renew it for another 39 years.
In KHTP, the rental to lease the land starts from RM23 per sq ft.
Panasonic will start construction of the facility as soon as possible, as it plans for the plant to start operations in December 2012, with an annual production capacity of 300MW.
In an announcement made available at its website, Panasonic announced that it would establish Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd next month to produce solar cells and modules.
Panasonic’s solar manufacturing facility in KHTP will be the second company there after the US-based First Solar, which occupies 160 acres.
First Solar, to date, has invested RM2.9bil in KHTP since 2007, employing 3,400 workers in its six plants.
There are 37 companies providing support services for solar power and semiconductor industries in the country.
Among them is Saint-Gobain Solar (SGS) from France, which has invested RM46mil in KHTP for a glass manufacturing facility to support the solar industry, and is expected to start operations this month.
In the announcement, Panasonic said with environmental awareness increasing globally and the introduction of subsidy systems and feed-in tariff schemes in Japan and other countries, the solar cell market was predicted to grow further.
“Robust demand is expected particularly in the residential sector, the main target of the Panasonic solar modules.
“The new factory in KHTP will not only help Panasonic meet this growing demand, but also strengthen the company’s module’s cost-competitiveness with the vertically-integrated production,” the announcement said.
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