Fri, Dec 02, 2011 - Page 11 News List

AUO finishes first 1.2 megawatt solar project in S Africa

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff Reporter

AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), the nation’s No. 2 LCD panel manufacturer, yesterday said it had completed the first 1.2 megawatt (MW) solar project in South Africa, after participating in a 5MW solar park in the UK late last year.

The Taiwanese company said in a statement that the project was made in collaboration with South Africa’s biggest utility, Eskom, and includes a 600 kilowatt (kW) tracking system photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Lethabo and a 600kW ground-mounted PV power plant in Kendal.

South Africa has been promoting renewable energy in recent years and AU Optronics’ project was completed as the country hosts the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which started on Sunday and runs through Friday next week.

The Lethabo plant can generate 1,200,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) for 800 households, while the Kendal plant can provide 1,000,000kWh to 700 households, AU Optronics said in the statement.

AU Optronics started developing its solar business in 2008. Focusing on high-efficiency solar modules, the company said it had successfully produced back content solar modules with a conversion efficiency rate of more than 19.5 percent.

It hopes to increase its capacity by more than 50MW in the first quarter of next year to better meet its Asian customers’ need, the company added.

As for the European market, AU Optronics said it planned to install new equipment at its PV factory in the Czech Republic to boost its capacity this quarter, the statement said.

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