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Panasonic Starts Malaysia Solar-Panel Plant to Meet Japan Demand

Panasonic Corp. started solar-panel production at a plant in Malaysia to meet “robust” demand in Japan, the company said in a statement today.

The plant, with an annual capacity of 300 megawatts, will also make wafers and solar cells and increase the company’s total module production capacity to 900 megawatts, according to the statement. The facility is located in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the state of Kedah.

Apart from Malaysia, Panasonic makes solar cells at two plants in Japan. It makes modules in Japan and in Hungary, according to the statement.

Panasonic said on Oct. 31 it won’t invest further in the 45 billion-yen ($538 million) Malaysia plant after the company forecast a 765 billion-yen loss in the year ending March 31 even as an incentive program for clean energy spurs demand for solar panels in Japan.

The company stopped module production in Mexico at the end of August to consolidate operations, according to spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu. She declined to comment on the number of jobs affected or the size of the plant.

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