Taiwan's AUO, U.S. SunPower to Build Solar Plant in Malaysia

Malaysia was chosen for its good investment environment the companies said.

AU Optronics, one of Taiwan's leading flat screen manufacturers, said on May 28 that it had joined up with U.S.-based SunPower to build a solar cell plant in Malaysia.

The company's board of directors approved the decision to invest US$350 million for a 50% stake in the joint venture.

The plant is expected to start commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2010 with a maximum output of 1.4 gigawatts.

A company official said Malaysia was chosen for its good investment environment, which has also attracted other international companies such as First Solar.

SunPower is the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial solar systems in the United States and a market leader in Germany, Italy and Spain.

Taiwan has estimated its solar energy industry will be worth up to 200 billion Taiwan dollars (US$6.25 billion ) by 2020.

The parliament last year passed a major renewable energy bill aimed at adding between 6,500 and 10,000 megawatts of installed energy from renewable sources over the next 20 years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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