United Renewable Energy Co (URE, 聯合再生能源), the nation’s biggest solar module supplier, yesterday said that demand has picked up rapidly this quarter, primarily from the home market.
Lockdowns worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic hindered demand and slowed solar panel installations in the first half of the year, but demand bounced back strongly after businesses reopened last quarter, URE said.
“We are optimistic about the fourth quarter, as customers are racing to install solar panels by the end of this year to match the government’s efforts to boost solar energy installations,” said a company official, who asked not to be named as they are not the company’s spokesperson.
The growth momentum is driven by pent-up demand primarily from local clients, URE said.
Resilient domestic demand has boosted revenue contribution from the home market to 50 percent, compared with 30 percent last year, the official said.
Recovering demand drove factory utilization to almost 100 percent, URE chief executive officer Pan Wen-whe (潘文輝) told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the company eked out a profit last quarter, snapping six quarters of losses.
Solar panel installations in Taiwan have lagged far behind government targets due to the pandemic and other factors, including a U-turn in government policy, former TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) solar industry analyst Sharen Chen (陳君盈) told a solar energy forum yesterday.
The Bureau of Energy aims to install 2.3 gigawatts of solar panels by the end of this year, which is part of the government’s greater renewable energy policy through 2025.
The government expects solar energy nationwide to reach 20 gigawatts by 2025, Chen said.
However, he forecast that solar panel installations this year would only reach 1.2 gigawatts.
Chen said he cut his estimate for this year after the Council of Agriculture backtracked on a policy of releasing idled farmland for ground-mount solar farms.
She did not provide comparative figures.
Separately, TSEC Corp (元晶太陽能) yesterday also reported a strong rebound in demand, with good order visibility through the first quarter of next year, after securing big orders, such as Taiwan Power Co’s (台電) 100-megawatt project at the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park (彰濱工業區).
Factory utilization has reached 90 percent, TSEC said.
To cope with rising demand, TSEC’s board of directors last month approved a proposal to spend NT$626.29 million (US$21.63 million) on a new solar cell module capacity expansion plan.
TSEC’s net profit last month surged 241.45 percent year-on-year to NT$46.64 million, or NT$0.12 per share, it said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Tuesday.