Sarawak is to venture into the mass-production of solar cells. These solar cells will be the main component item in the tapping of solar energy.

These cells will be used to convert heat energy – harnessed from the sun by solar panels – into electricity for use in industries and residential homes.

Sarawak’s foray into this ”green technology” industry will be a pioneering effort in this state, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan.

”This will be a very high-tech project. It will be the first of its kind in Sarawak. We (ministry) have already negotiated with a foreign consortium on the project.

”The consortium has agreed to set up a factory to produce these solar cells in Similajau (Bintulu Division in northern Sarawak).

”The solar cells to be produced from Sarawak will be used locally as well as for export.

“Most of them will be for overseas markets because we (Sarawak and Malaysia in general) are still very new in the solar energy sectors and we do not have the market yet for big local usage,” he said during a recent interview.

Sagan, who is MP for Baram, said the venture into the solar-energy sector would be a major step forward for Sarawak in terms of green technology.

He said the project would fit in very well with the state government’s plan for SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).

SCORE will span the length between Mukah district in central Sarawak and Similajau in Bintulu. That belt will be for the setting up of industries that will utilise energy from hydro-dams from Bakun and other sites that are to be built in the years to come.

Sagan declined to reveal as yet which consortium from which country will be the one to handle the solar cell project.

The project will involve huge amount of investments and it will be a long-term industry, he said.

His ministry is aggressively promoting SCORE and the Sabah Regional Development Corridor as well as the other development corridors in peninsula Malaysia by marketing the unique advantages that each has for investors, he stressed.

As far as SCORE is concerned, the bountiful supply of energy that Sarawak has is a massive selling point because investors who want to venture into heavy industries and high-technology sectors will need a constant, uninterrupted supply of huge amount of electricity daily, he added. — The Star