GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia, a key exporter of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, is well positioned to benefit from the spillover effects of growing solar power usage worldwide, which is expected to see growth of between 12% and 20% over the next five years.

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said between 2014 and 2018, Asia would see the installation of another 37 GW in PV capacity.

He spoke at a press conference after the PV Celltech 2017 conference.

“The country has the necessary solar eco-system to obtain a market share of the growing solar power business in the region.

“Ranked as the world’s third largest producer of PV cells and modules, Malaysia has an ecosystem comprising 250 companies involved in upstream activities such as poly silicon, wafer, cell and module production and downstream activities such as inverters, and system integrators.

“In 2016, according to a Mida survey, export and local sourcing activities undertaken by the top solar companies in the country was valued at RM11.1bil and RM1.42bil respectively. “We export over 80% of PV products to Europe, US and Asia,” he added.

Azman said the Malaysian Solar PV Roadmap 2030 would be launched at the end of the year to drive the country’s solar PV industry forward. According to Azman, Malaysia, under the National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, aims to achieve 2,080 MW of renewable energy by 2020.

“The government through the Economic Transformation Programme aims to achieve 1,250 MW solar power capacity to be connected to the grid by 2020,” he added.

Azman said Mida was now in the process of talking to several PV manufacturers from overseas that are keen to invest in Malaysia.

“In 2016, we attracted seven more solar manufacturing projects and 83 renewable energy projects in the solar industry worth RM1.77bil and RM0.65bil respectively,” he said.