Solar Manufacturing Rises in Malaysia (NY Times)

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Solar Manufacturing Secret

Malaysia is the biggest benefactor of the solar trade wars. While Chinese companies are dealt with American tariffs and European quotas, Malaysia has drawn many mulinational companies with low labor costs, good relationships with the west, tax breaks and english-speaking engineering talents. Tom Werner of SunPower states that “We liked Malaysia because it was a cross between just a straight low-cost play and a high-engineering play — it was sort of in the middle, where it was lower-cost but good engineering.”

Six factories from Malaysia produce 83% of First Solar’s solar panels and the rest is made by workers in Ohio.

Inevitable Growth

Catching up with China and the Eurpian Union, Malaysia has become the world’s third biggest producer of solar equipment. The coming months look promising for the Southeast asian nation if the American government broadens tariffs on panels made in China.

The bullish growth of solar manufacturing in Malaysia is a rare but unavoidable even in an industry known for heavily supporting even the smallest factory opening or new solar panel farm.

Manufacturers try to avoid attention to offshore production. The factories in the country are almost exclusively owned by American, European, South Korean and Japanese companies that market the operations as done in their respective countries.

Patrons of Malaysian Solar Manufacturing

First Solar isn’t the only company with a production secret in Malaysia, Panasonic, SunEdison, Hanwha Q Cells and SunPower all have mega factories in Malaysia with Silicon Valley start up, Solexel, preparing to build its own production facility in the area.

Catching up with China and the Eurpian Union, Malaysia has become the world’s third biggest producer of solar equipment. The coming months look promising for the Southeast asian nation if the American government broadens tariffs on panels made in China.

Source: NY Times

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