Taiwan's AU plans $2.3 bln solar cell plant -paper

TAIPEI, June 24 Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:27pm EDT

TAIPEI, June 24 (Reuters) - AU Optronics (2409.TW), Taiwan's No.2 flat panel maker, will invest T$73 billion ($2.28 billion) to build a solar cell plant in Taiwan as it further expands into the growing sector, a local newspaper reported on Thursday.

Construction will start in late 2011 and the plant will be located in central Taiwan in the same science park that AU has chosen to build new LCD panel facilities, the Economic Daily said.

AU's move comes after it and U.S. solar panel maker SunPower Corp SPWRA.O agreed last month to set up a $700 million venture to own and operate a 1.4-gigawatt solar cell plant in Malaysia. [ID:nN2799596]

TSMC (2330.TW) (TSM.N), the world's top contract chip maker, said earlier in June that it would invest $50 million to take a 21 percent stake in U.S.-based solar start-up, Stion Corp. [ID:nN16187939]

AU shares fell 0.3 percent in early trade, trailing the main index's .TWII 0.2 percent dip.