Asahi proposes $9-M glass project

Asahi Glass Phils., Inc. (AGP) has proposed $9 million, approximately P500 million, for a pioneering project in the country involving the production of a low-iron, high transmittance, tempered glass for solar panels application.In a letter to Board of Investments managing head Gregory L.

Domingo, AGP president Renato R. Ermita said the project would generate export revenues of $6 million in the first year and grow to $10 million after a few years.

Implementation would be on a phase by phase basis starting with the furnace modification, followed by the installation of auxiliary facilities and lastly the processing equipment spanning a period of 50 months, starting July 2004.

"The high value product will also use for its primary raw material a high grade silica not available in Asia and therefore, imported," Ermita said.

Ermita said it will require a redesign of one of the existing furnaces, installation of some new auxiliary facilities and additional equipment for processing.

According to Ermita their proposed project was encouraged by the decision of American-owned SunPower Corporation to locate its $320-million solar power project here.

Earlier, SunPower was hesitant to locate that project here because there was no raw materials that will support them. With the project of AGP, this means that SunPower can source its requirements from them.

Sunpower, a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp., will put up a 150 megawatt photovoltaic plant/solar cell project.

The first phase of the project will cover wafering and solar cell processing with an output of 25 MW and will reach its maximum output of 150 MW in 2006 that will cover ingot growing.

The planned ingot growing operations of SunPower is almost identical to those used to manufacture computer chips.

SunPower has committed to sell a portion of its output to local companies at a discounted rate strictly for the use in the development of solar energy in the Philippines. Export revenues are expected to reach $247 million in 2007.

SunPower is a leading manufacturer of ultra high-frequency silicon solar cells. Its products include the world's most efficient concentrator solar cell which are designed to work with a lens or mirror that concentrates the sunlight many fold.

600450 Asahi proposes $9-M glass project

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