Business

Wednesday December 15, 2010

Twin Creeks setting up RM1bil solar cell plant in Perak

By ROSHIDI ABU SAMAH and IVAN LOH
newsdesk@thestar.com.my


M’sia to boost solar energy R&D

IPOH: Malaysia is currently fine-tuning a blueprint to attract high-value capital intensive investments in solar energy production.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Government was working on building strong research and development (R&D) to support innovation in the solar production value chain.

Government agencies will provide the necessary support platform to identify research areas, he said before officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony of Twin Creeks Malaysia Sdn Bhd's RM1bil high-power solar cells production plant in the Kanthan Industrial Area here yesterday.

He said the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry had established a solar R&D laboratory to innovate the next generation thin film and crystalline solar technology.

Dr Siva Sivaram (right), CEO and founder of Twin Creeks Technologies Inc (USA), showing Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (second from left) the solar cell to be produced by the plant during the ground breaking ceremony in Chemor near Ipoh yesterday. On the left is Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff.

At the same time, the ministry via Sirim is also establishing a shared solar test centre, which will provide product certification required and lowering the individual cost of establishing solar manufacturing operations, he added.

Muhyiddin pointed out that solar had been identified in Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) roadmap as a major growth area for the country.

By 2020, earmarked Entry Point Projects for the solar industry are expected to provide Gross National Income of RM13.9bil and creating 55,000 jobs, he said.

However, it will require about RM28bil in private investments and a further RM2.9bil in public investments, he added.

Muhyiddin said the solar industry has vast potential for growth.

Solar energy is becoming more economically attractive as technology improves and the cost of electricity generated by fossil fuels rises, he said.

It is more economical in the long run to generate solar power even though the starting cost is high, said Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia had already attracted several companies manufacturing solar panels and providing raw materials to be used in the industry.

Malaysia is an attractive country as we offer good and customised incentives and we also have adequate skilled manpower, he said.

He also noted that Twin Creeks' foray into Perak was another development that has potential and that the state could be the hub to produce solar energy in the future.

Twin Creeks Malaysia is a joint venture (JV) between US-based Twin Creeks Technologies Inc, Perak State Development Corp and a state government subsidiary, The Red Solar (M) Sdn Bhd.

Red Solar executive chairman Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff said the JV was signed in June this year to manufacture solar cells, using Twin Creeks' patented technology.

Rais Hussin, who is also Twin Creeks Malaysia chairman and director, said Red Solar would be the exclusive distributor for the solar cells and panels produced by Twin Creeks Malaysia for the country and South-East Asia.

Phase one of the plant would begin with a production capacity of 100 MW in 2012, which would be raised to 500 MW in 2014.

The plant will create 1,000 jobs involving 500 semi-skilled workers, 200 in engineering and the rest in management and supervision.

Twin Creeks Malaysia planned to continue with the second phase construction of the plant in 2015 on 15ha stretching to Perak Hi-Tech Park.

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