Panasonic has unveiled plans to build a new US$584-million PV manufacturing facility at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah, Malaysia. From wafers to modules, the 70,000m2 site will produce equipment for the entire PV chain and is further indication of Panasonic’s desire to invest in the burgeoning renewables sector.
Building work is scheduled to begin immediately and, when completed in late 2012, capacity will stand at 300MW. The Kulim Hi-Tech Park development is Panasonic's first PV manufacturing site overseas – in October it abandoned plans to convert a television panel plant in Western Japan into a PV factory because of the rising yen – and takes the company's total production capacity to 900MW.
Panasonic hopes to make Malaysia the manufacturing home for its latest HIT panels, which are targeted at the residential solar sector. These modules will be sold as both an individual product and as part of a system combined with storage batteries.
The Kedah facility will create around 1,500 jobs for the local workforce.