Malaysia’s Path: Producing Solar Panels to Solar Power

Recently Applied Materials hosted a high-level solar delegation from Malaysia at our Santa Clara, California headquarters. Malaysia, like many other developing countries, is at a crossroad of deciding how to balance fast-growing energy needs with environmental concerns, energy security and economic development.

Until today, Malaysia has prioritized industry and economic development. Now it is set to expand its solar industry, from producing solar panels to producing solar power. Malaysia is already home to large scale production facilities of three leading photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers: SunPower, Q-Cells and First Solar.

As the world moves towards a greener future, Malaysia is taking a look at the other side of the equation: sustainability. This is driving the Ministry of Energy to invest in a new portfolio of green technologies. The delegation, led by the Malaysian Energy Centre, is recommending a policy framework for renewable energy adoption. A lively discussion ensued between Malaysia’s top policy makers and Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, chief technology officer of Applied’s Energy and Environmental Energy Solutions (EES) and Display businesses, and president of the European PV Industry Association (EPIA) over the merits of clean energy.

Malaysian Delegation
Malaysian Delegation
The delegation also toured our 5.7m2 solar PV research installation and spoke with John Antone on how Applied’s fab2farm business model for solar deployment can help Malaysia adopt renewable energy while simultaneously developing a strong green technology industry.

An interesting highlight of the visit was to see how similar Malaysia’s industrialization and environmental experience is to that of China’s. Both countries excel in low-cost volume manufacturing and have benefited from globalization. And now, they are both on the path to turning this strength into solving their energy and environmental goals.

It is clearly not an easy task to challenge their country’s energy status quo — existing fuel oil generation incumbents and a national oil company — however, from the confidence of the delegation, the Malaysians certainly look ready to tackle the task of creating a cleaner sustainable future, one step at a time.

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