(EnergyAsia, April 4 2016, Monday) — REC, a global provider of solar energy solutions, has announced it will invest a total of S$250 million in automation, technology upgrade and research and development (R&D) efforts to bolster its operations in Singapore. (US$1=S$1.37).

Eighty percent of that investment will go towards increasing productivity and efficiency at the company’s 1.3 GW of solar modules production capacity. The plant, located in Tuas in western Singapore, produces panels that are more energy efficient than common multi-crystalline panels.

REC said the other S$50 million will be invested in developing a “novel” solar panel with 350 watt power over the next five years. The Norwegian firm will partner with the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) to develop the panel that will generate 1.35 times more energy at a comparable cost and size to standard multi-crystalline modules.

REC made its announcement at a ceremony at the Tuas plant earlier this week that was attended by company officials and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), S. Iswaran.

“With such a strong commitment to cleantech innovation, Singapore is the ideal location for REC to channel new innovations and push the boundaries for solar solutions. We are very excited to share our roadmap for advancements in solar energy production as we dedicate resources for research and development into our game-changing TwinPeak solar panels,” said Steve O’Neil, REC’s CEO.