Cited as one of its largest single investments in manufacturing facilities in the long history of the company, Bosch is planning to invest over €520 million in a new fully-integrated solar module manufacturing plant in Batu Kawan, Penang, Malaysia. Construction is expected to start by the end of 2011 with production scheduled to have begun by the end of 2013. When fully ramped in 2014, capacity is expected to reach a combined 640MW. The company noted that it still expects sales to pass the €1 billion level this year.
“With this investment, Bosch is moving further along the path of internationalization it has already set for its photovoltaics business,” noted Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management at a press conference held in Stuttgart. “The new manufacturing site in Batu Kawan will mainly serve Asia’s solar energy market, which is growing strongly. In the coming years, the Asian market is set to see average annual growth of 30 percent. Components for manufacturing sites in other countries will also be produced at the new Malaysian site.”
The facility will include the fabrication of silicon crystals, wafers, solar cells and modules. The module production lines are planned reach an annual capacity of 150MWp in 2014.
Bosch noted that the annual cell production of the new manufacturing site in Malaysia would cover the energy needs of 165,000 households in central Europe; however, the number of households covered in Malaysia would be almost twice as high at up to 300,000.
The facility is expected to employ approximately 2,000 workers when fully ramped.
Bosch plans for the new facility in Malaysia to serve the south-east Asian market, where the company is expecting excellent growth opportunities for solar in the years to come. Bosch noted that it expected the ‘sunbelt’ region to have a total installed output in the region of approximately 130GW by 2020.