Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bosch Plans New Manufacturing Site in Malaysia for Solar Energy

The Bosch Group intends to further expand its photovoltaics business and is planning a new manufacturing site in the Batu Kawan region in Penang, Malaysia.

With a planned investment of some 520 million euros, the construction project for the new manufacturing site is one of the biggest in the company's history. “With this investment, Bosch is moving further along the path of internationalization it has already set for its photovoltaics business,” said Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management, in Stuttgart. The new manufacturing site in Batu Kawan will mainly serve Asia's solar energy market, which is growing strongly.

Construction of the new site is set to begin before the end of this year. “The planned facility will cover the entire value-added chain, from silicon crystals – known as ingots – and solar cells to the modules which can be installed on roofs or in solar power plants,” said Holger von Hebel, chairman of Bosch Solar Energy AG. Start of production is planned for the end of 2013. Construction is expected to be completed the following year. By then, some 2000 associates will be working at the new site in Penang, producing solar power plants with a total output of 640 megawatts peak each year. The module production lines will reach an annual capacity of 150 megawatts peak. While the annual cell production of the new manufacturing site in Malaysia would cover the energy needs of 165,000 households in central Europe, the number of households covered in Malaysia would be almost twice as high, at up to 300,000.

Malaysia offers good conditions

The solar industry refers to the part of the world Malaysia is located in as the sun belt, as the level of solar radiation in countries located between the 35th parallels of the northern and southern hemispheres is twice as high as in Germany. Market growth is expected to be particularly strong in this region.

Bosch has been present in Malaysia since 1923. The company is already quite familiar with the favorable conditions offered in Penang. With a workforce of 1,100 associates, Bosch Power Tools manufactures cordless drill/drivers, drills and measuring instruments there. In 2010, Bosch generated sales of 130 million euros in Malaysia, and counted 2,300 associates in the country.

On the local front
Bosch sees solar as playing an important role in the future of the energy sector and is making investments in line with this strategy...For the Philippines, it is important to begin the process of investing and diversifying the country’s energy sources into renewable energy as soon as possible.  This will enable the local energy sector to accelerate the buildup of knowledge and capabilities among the different stakeholders to prepare for the continued rise of RE as a sustainable energy resource,” said Joseph Hong, managing director of Robert Bosch Inc. Philippines.

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