solar in penang

By David Tan, The Star – November 22, 2010

GEORGE TOWN: The solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the country is expected to increase substantially to 11mega watt (MW) in 2011, generating about RM200mil in business opportunities for companies involved in installing solar power generation systems.

AWC Bhd managing director Azmir Merican told StarBiz that the 11MW capacity would provide for the grid-connected market in the peninsula and the off-grid market in East Malaysia, following the implementation of the feed-in tariff scheme under the Renewable Energy Law next July.

The feed-in tariffs proposed for residential buildings is around RM1.20 per kilowatt (KW) hour and for commercial properties around RM1.10 per KW hour, while the tariff to consume solar power from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is around 32sen per KW hour for both residential and commercial properties.
AWC, a provider of engineering services and integrated facility management solutions, is listed on the Main Market. Ithad just set up a joint-venture company, AWC Solamas Sdn Bhd, with Solamas Sdn Bhd to provide solar power integrated services to tap the huge potential of the renewable energy sector in the country.
We expect the commercial and government sectors to generate the bulk of demand for solar PV system installation, as the commercial enterprises and the Government would be interested in reducing power spending to stay competitive and to save money.
Solar panels installed by AWC Solamas
A large factory, for example, would require the installation of 1MW capacity, which would cost about RM16mil to install.
The RM16mil would include the cost of designing, building, and installing the solar PV system to suit the requirements of the customer, he said.
Commenting on overseas markets, Azmir said the joint venture company would also look into providing its services in the Middle East.
The Middle East is heavily investing into solar projects, and we would like to be a part of this, he said. In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, there is 1500MW capacity of concentrated solar power slated for development by 2020, and the installation for 100MW capacity has already started. The UAE has also invested about US$2bil into solar PV manufacturing.
Azmir said the company would also explore Africa, which has a large growth potential in the energy sector, and pursue opportunities in Malaysia and South-East Asia.
ETI Tech Corp Bhd, an ACE market renewable energy provider company, is targeting to sell between 500 and 1,000 sets per month of solar power generation system for off-grid applications in 2011 for the Sabah and Sarawak market.
We sold only about 60 sets this year, which generated over RM1mil in revenue, as we started the business some 18 months ago.
The off-grid solar PV market in Sabah and Sarawak is huge, as there are some 400,000 rural households which are still using diesel-generators as power systems.
ETI Tech has to date spent about RM4mil in research and development to produce lithium polymer batteries for off-grid applications in east Malaysia, ETI managing director K.K. Lee said.
Meanwhile, Gading Kencana Sdn Bhd managing director Guntor Tobeng said the company was now bidding for two 5MW solar power projects called by Johor Port in Pasir Gudang and by Tenaga Nasional Bhd for its solar farm project in Putrajaya, which would cost about RM180mil to install.
In 2012, the solar power capacity in Malaysia is expected to grow to 22MW, generating about RM400mil in business opportunities.
These business opportunities are in the supply of modules, system components, and provision of installation services to households and commercial buildings which generate solar energy for their own usage or those connected to the power grid for distribution. The capital barrier to these businesses is also very low, ranging between RM50,000 and RM3mil, Guntor said.
Based in Shah Alam, Gading Kencana is involved a providing consultancy and engineering services for renewable energy used in residential and commercial buildings.
The company has, so far this year, completed RM10mil worth of solar energy projects for rural areas in east Malaysia.