Hoevik, Norway [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Singapore — it’s the country where Norway’s Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) has decided to build its new integrated solar manufacturing facility. Fully developed, the manufacturing complex will incorporate wafer, cell and module production facilities — and have a production capacity of up to 1.5 gigawatts (GW).
The decision to set up operations in Singapore was made after a comprehensive nine month screening process of more than 200 possible locations, followed by due diligence of close to 20 of them and finally negotiations with a handful of sites.
“The development of this site will enable us to continue expanding in a cost efficient manner and will support REC’s ambitious cost target. Our future cost position will determine our ability to deliver solar products that can compete with traditional energy sources in the sunny areas of the world without government incentives,” says Erik Thorsen, president & CEO of REC.
The project concept is finalized and pre-engineering activities have commenced. The total development will be organized in several stages through a series of interdependent projects. The initial investment decision is expected to take place as soon as the pre-engineering activities for the first phase have been completed some time during first half of 2008.
In addition to the wafer, cell and module production, the manufacturing complex will incorporate infrastructure and support facilities, as well as an on-site supplier park. Sufficient space has also been reserved for future R&D activities and possible manufacturing facilities based on potential new technologies.
The green field site for this new manufacturing complex is located in Tuas View, approximately 30 minutes from the city center in the western part of Singapore. The site can hold a capacity of up to 1.5 GW within each product area, although it is not likely that the production capacity for wafer, cells and modules will be fully balanced.
Depending on the final capacity and site development, total investments in the Singapore site may exceed €3 billion within the next 5 years and the total number of employees could be around 3,000 people.
“Singapore had articulated an exciting vision and plan to develop the solar industry as a key growth area for its economy. We are very happy to have been given the opportunity to build this solar industry complex in Singapore. We look forward to the continued co-operation with the local authorities, as well as research and development institutions, and the suppliers in the region,” added Thorsen.
Simultaneously, the company signed an agreement with the Singaporean government agency Economic Development Board (EDB). The agreement outlines both the terms and conditions related to the development of a new production site, the process of establishing a manufacturing complex, as well as operational and commercial conditions.
“We are delighted that REC has chosen Singapore to build the world’s largest solar manufacturing complex. We are fully committed to work closely with REC to implement this project successfully. This investment will be a tremendous boost to our national drive to develop the solar industry. Investors like REC can leverage on Singapore’s business-friendly environment, excellent infrastructure, availability of technical talent, strong government support to grow the solar industry, and long term political stability,” says Ko Kheng Hwa, Managing Director, EDB.