Masdar to invest $2bn in solar panel technology

A $2 billion (Dh7.34bn) investment in solar panel technology was announced yesterday by Masdar, the wholly-owned initiative of the Government of Abu Dhabi through Mubadala Development Company.

Through the initiative, Masdar PV will develop thin-film photovoltaic solar technology as part of its drive to become a world leader in alternative energy.

The total amount of the investment represents one of the largest ever made in solar energy. It will fund a three-phased manufacturing and expansion programme to produce the latest generation of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Phase one of the initiative will see an investment of $600 million, which will fund the development of two manufacturing facilities. The first in Erfurt, Germany, will be operational by the third quarter of 2009 and a second facility in Abu Dhabi will begin initial production by the second quarter of 2010. The combined annual production capacities of the two sites will be 210 megawatts, which is committed to major PV system installers in Europe and for Masdar's own energy generation needs.

Masdar chose Germany as the site for its first plant because the country is currently the centre of the global PV industry. This German plant will act as a reference plant for technology and knowledge transfer to the larger Abu Dhabi plant by a joint German-Abu Dhabi team.

This approach represents a significant step in Masdar's objective to transform Abu Dhabi into a developer and exporter of technology.