Thursday, July 15, 2010

1st MEMC-owned solar wafer ops by year-end

Thestar: Thursday July 15, 2010


KUCHING: MEMC Electronic Materials Inc’s first internal solar wafer manufacturing facility at the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone will have an initial annual production of 600 megawatt (equivalent of solar energy) when it begins operation in five to six months.
MEMC vice-president for solar wafer manufacturing Brian Wuebbels said there were plans to expand the plant’s annual capacity by five-fold in five years if demand picked up.
“The investment in the plant’s phase 1 project will be more than RM500mil,” he said during a briefing for Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Industrial Development Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam at the project site yesterday.
Fast-track construction work started six weeks ago, and the plant is expected to be ready before year-end.
MEMC, a global leader in the manufacture and sales of wafers to the semiconductor and solar industries, has recruited about 80 employees, and the first batch of 20 mechanical and electrical engineers are now in the US on a two-month training programme.
(From left) MEMC Malaysia solar project executive Claudio Laddo and Brian Wuebbels briefing Tan Sri Dr George Chan.
The plant will have some 600 local employees by December, and the workforce may be increased to 2,500 if its phase 2 project is implemented as planned by 2013.
Wuebbels said MEMC, which had been contracting out the production of solar wafers in China, had decided to site its first internal manufacturing facility for solar wafers in Malaysia because the country recognised intellectual property.
He also said the company planned to transfer the solar wafer technology to Malaysia at the phase 2 development.
The Sarawak plant would produce high-efficiency monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar wafers for the global market, Wuebbels said.
“The solar market is expanding rapidly, with the Asia-Pacific and the US the fastest growing markets although the main market now is Europe,” he added.
Meanwhile, MEMC’s second silicon wafer plant in Malaysia, located in Ipoh, has started operations.
Its Malaysia region procurement head, Nara Subramaniam, said the plant had completed its trial production on the pilot line.
“The Ipoh plant makes larger diameter silicon wafers than those produced at the Kuala Lumpur (KL) plant,” Nara, who was also in Kuching, said yesterday.
He said about RM150mil had been invested in the facility which had about 300 employees.
The company was investing another RM49mil to expand the KL facility to raise production capacity by about 30%, he said.
“The expansion is expected to be completed in five to six months. The existing plant is operating at 80% to 90% of the installed capacity,” he added.
The KL plant, which has a workforce of 450, was set up 38 years ago as MEMC’s first overseas subsidiary.
Meanwhile, MEMC said in a press release that as the fatest growing energy technology in the world, solar energy had helped to drive increased boost interest in clean, renewable energy sources.
The company said although the solar market had grown at more than 40% annualy since the late 1990s, it still currently only represented less than 1% of the world’s energy supply.
MEMC said it extended its expertise into the solar wafer market three years ago, and was currently working at enhancing solar wafer efficiencies as well as other pioneering efforts that would impact the solar market for years to come.
“As technical advances and other factors continue to increase the pervasiveness of solar around the world, MEMC will be there providing a solid and reliable foundation to build on,” it added.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bill on renewable energy underway, says Minister

Thestar: Tuesday July 6, 2010

CYBERJAYA: The Government is drafting the bill on renewable energy to make way for more aggressive development of energy in the country.
Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said the Act, which is expected to be enacted early next year, will also introduce the implementation of the Feed-in Tariff mechanism.
He said the move was in line with the government's aim of achieving a capacity of 2,080 MW in renewable energy by 2020.
"The Attorney General is currently fine-tuning the bill.
"We are confident of the bill being tabled for debate and approval during the Dewan Rakyat sitting this October," he told reporters after officiating the international summit on Advances in Renewable Energy Technologies (ICARET 2010) here on Tuesday.
Earlier, in his speech, Peter said the government was continuously looking and exploring new ideas and strategies to accelerate green technology advancement in the country.
"We will announce from time to time the incentives and packages made available by the government to the stakeholders and interested parties for this sector.
"We have plans to make Malaysia a leading player in the world on green technology and we must get support from all quarters to achieve this," he said.
He also said the ministry would be organising the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) in Kuala Lumpur for four days from October 14 to further project Malaysia in the green technology field.
He said the conference would offer a unique opportunity for Malaysia to showcase to the world the latest green technology and eco-products available in the market.
"The objective of IGEM is to create greater awareness and promote the importance of green technology as well as to encourage our industries to be innovative and in the fore-front of the green growth," he said. - BERNAMA NJ SD