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AUO SunPower Dedicates 1,400 Megawatt Solar Cell Fab

published: 2010-12-16 17:15

SunPower Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, announced the inauguration of AUO SunPower Sdn. Bhd., the company's joint venture solar cell fabrication facility (Fab 3) in Malaysia with AU Optronics Corp.  

Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, Chief Minister of Melaka, AUO Chairman K.Y. Lee, SunPower CEO Tom Werner, and federal and state government officials attended today's dedication.

The construction and ramp of Fab 3, located in Melaka, south of Kuala Lumpur, will continue through 2013 and, when completed, is expected to generate more than 1,400 megawatts annually of high-efficiency solar cells.  The two-building facility will be 108,000 square meters (more than 1 million square feet), which is approximately the size of seven U.S. football fields, and will house 28 solar cell production lines when fully online.  In production since October of this year, Fab 3 has already produced approximately 5 megawatts of Gen 2 solar cells with up to 22.5 percent conversion efficiency.

"We are pleased to dedicate this facility and celebrate the success of the AUO SunPower joint venture," said K.Y. Lee, chairman of AUO.  "The AUO SunPower Fab is already operational, benefiting from our leading manufacturing technology, and efficiently-run global operations and management.  We welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to our facility today, and thank him and the Malaysian government for their full support of our joint venture."

As with SunPower's Fab 2, fully online since January of 2009, Fab 3 has been recognized by the International Energy Agency for its superior energy-efficient design.  In addition, Fab 3 has applied for both gold and silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for its administration building and cell Fab, respectively. Fab 3 was engineered with a variety of energy efficient features that will help increase operations efficiency and reduce energy costs.  These features include:

——Solar covered parking that will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of annual power generation

——Rooftop solar on all site facilities that will total more than 10 megawatts of annual power generation

——Rain water retention ponds for environmental protection and water recycling

——Improved HVAC cooling and heating systems that offers a much lower carbon footprint for a facility of this size and type

——100 percent of the hot water heating capacity is generated by heat recovery air compressors

——Cooling system efficiency that uses approximately 40 percent less electricity compared to typical systems in the Melaka area

"Fab 3 will enable us to significantly increase the production of our high-efficiency solar cells in this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility," said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO.  "Malaysia's investment in the AUO SunPower joint venture, an excellent talent pool and a positive business investment climate, has given us the opportunity to significantly expand solar cell production that will meet the demand for solar worldwide, which has grown nearly eight fold over the past four years.  We appreciate our partnership with the Malaysian government."

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