An Australian energy consultancy has signed a deal with the Sri Lankan government to develop a US$190 million PV cell and module factory.

The facility in the country’s Board of Investment (BOI) trade zone near the southern city of Hambantota with have a capacity of 150MW.

Sydney-based Energy Puzzle will provide the investment for the project, which was approved in January with the final agreement signed on 21 February.

The majority of the facility’s output will be exported but some could be held back for local use, according to the BOI.

“Sri Lanka offers Australian enterprises many opportunities in the renewable energy sector,” said Patrick Featherston, director, Energy Puzzle. “The country has a well-educated workforce and maintains high standards of manufacturing, which is vital for a renewable energy sector such as the manufacture of solar panels.

“I am therefore, confident that the choice we made to invest in this rapidly developing country, with excellent connections to the South Asian region, East Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world, is indeed the right one."

Solar panels manufactured in the country benefit from some tax exemptions according to a recent budget proposal by the BOI.

A statement on Energy Puzzle’s website suggests it is looking to offer the outsourced capacity to established manufacturers to “regionalise your renewable energy products for the Asian and Australian markets”.