Solar cell maker Taiwan Solar Energy Corp (TSEC, 元晶) yesterday said it is boosting high-efficiency solar cell and solar module capacity in a bid to benefit from fast-growing demand, primarily in Taiwan.
TSEC is the latest in a slew of local solar companies unveiling new solar investment projects after the government said it aims to boost solar panel installation to an accumulated 20 gigawatts in 2025 to achieve its goal of boosting power supply from renewable energy sources to 20 percent of power generated, from just 4 percent.
That would represent a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent in solar demand in Taiwan, compared with accumulated solar panel installation of 980 megawatts as of August this year, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said.
“If the government can hit that target, we believe local suppliers of solar cells or solar chips will be able to allocate 20 to 25 percent of their output to the domestic market, up from only 3 percent,” TSEC chairman Ellick Liao (廖國榮) told investors yesterday.
CHINESE MARKET RISK
That would also help reduce local solar companies’ heavy reliance on the Chinese market and thereby minimize their operational risks, Liao said.
Taiwanese solar cell makers last quarter bore the brunt of China’s sagging demand, which triggered a deep price decline and significantly hurt their bottom lines, he said.
China is the largest export destination for local solar cell makers, accounting for 67 percent of total output, he added.
TSEC is one of two Taiwanese solar cell suppliers that still managed to eke out a profit in the first three quarters of the year. The company’s net profit totaled NT$29.13 million (US$910,313), or earnings per share of NT$0.08, in the three quarters ending Sept 30.
The company is ranked the world’s No. 12 solar cell supplier by capacity.
“To adapt to the government’s renewable energy policy, we are adding high-efficiency solar cell capacity,” Liao said.
The Bureau of Energy offers a 6 percent price premium for high-efficiency solar cells over standard cells, Liao said, adding that TSEC’s solar cells have received certification from the agency.
TSEC is building new high-efficiency solar cell capacity totaling 450 megawatts, which will account for about 30 percent of the company’s projected total capacity of 1.5 gigawatts per year for next year, Liao said, adding that the new production line is to be completed in February.
TSEC also plans to build a new solar module plant in Taiwan to deal with expected demand in its home market, he said, adding that it is scouting land on which to build the factory, which would have capacity of 1 gigawatt per year.
The company raised NT$1.9 billion through syndicated loans and new share issuances earlier this year to finance the capacity expansion plan, Liao said.
In related news, larger rival Neo Solar Energy Corp (新日光能源) said it plans to initially invest NT$600 million in a joint venture with Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) to invest in solar power plants in Taiwan.