Thursday, November 17, 2011

First Solar to enlarge pool of Malaysia suppliers

KULIM Solar cell vendor First Solar Inc is looking to increase the local content of the photovoltaic (PV) solar modules it ships out of Malaysia by enlarging the pool of its local suppliers.

The company - via wholly-owned subsidiary First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd - currently sources between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of its materials from a pool of local vendors in sectors such as glass, packaging, labelling and the handling of semiconductor materials.

"We expect to see a greater role played in our manufacturing operations by small and medium-sized firms here next year.

"By the third quarter of 2012, First Solar will finalise how much more local content can be incorporated into our products," First Solar Malaysia's managing director P'ng Soo Hong told reporters during the company's milestone ce-lebrations of hitting a cumulative total of three gigawatts (GW) power worth of solar modules at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah yesterday.

The event was officiated by Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

First Solar Malaysia began operations in Kulim in 2007 with a single manufacturing plant and 109 employees.

Today, the company has six facilities and has grown its workforce to 3,500, while contributing some RM3.45 billion to the local economy since 2007.

P'ng said as First Solar works on growing its supplier base in Malaysia, providers of raw materials and spare parts needed for solar panels would be sought.

"The sustainable growth of our production is proof that the decision to make Malaysia the largest production hub for First Solar globally was the right one," he added.

A trade publication on photonics last year stated that First Solar had earmarked US$1 billion (RM3.17 billion) for 2011 to increase its total production capacity from 1.43 GW in 2010 to around 2.1 GW this year and 2.7 GW in 2012.

Meanwhile, Mukhriz in his speech said with the momentous output by First Solar currently, Malaysia is firming up its position as one of the largest solar panel producing nations."We are now overtaking much larger competitor nations as world-class companies start to expand their capacities in Malaysia."


1 comment:

  1. i prefer government promote off-grid solar energy system. The TEN people no need to check the electrical bill at all. can all the readers imagine , when all the people in rural areas start to install this system?. NO INCOME