Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chip maker, announced yesterday that work on its first thin-film solar cell plant would begin in September.
Rick Tsai (蔡力行), president of TSMC’s new businesses division, said the new plant will focus on developing modules for copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells, after entering the silicon solar cell sector by purchasing a 20 percent stake in Motech Industries Inc (茂迪), Taiwan’s biggest solar cell maker, in January.
Construction on TSMC’s LED research and development center and plant in Hsinchu began last March and mass production is expected next year. TSMC has moved aggressively into the solar cell industry this year, becoming Motech’s single largest shareholder and acquiring a 21 percent stake in US solar photovoltaic company Stion last month to obtain thin-film solar cell technology.
Tsai said TSMC expects to recruit at least 500 people to help develop its green energy businesses over the next 12 months.Lu Ming-kuang (盧明光), chairman of Sino-American Silicon Products Inc (中美晶), Taiwan’s top maker of wafers for solar cells, also said at the job fair that the company will increase its workforce from 2,400 to 6,000, in five years.
The job fair attracted more than 200 local companies including TSMC, AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), Hiwin Technologies Corp (上銀科技) and Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技) and offered more than 10,000 related job opportunities.
“The green energy industry in Taiwan has the support of well-developed semiconductor, photonics, machinery, materials and electronics industries,” Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said at the opening ceremony.
In terms of its green technology capability, Taiwan ranks sixth globally and second in Asia, behind Japan, according to a survey released by the Lausanne-based Institute for Management Development (IMD) last month.
The nation is already the world’s largest producer of energy-saving LED lights and has the second highest output value globally, according to the ministry’s Bureau of Energy.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is the world’s fourth-largest solar cell maker, said Taipei-based 1111 Job Bank, which co-organized the one-day event.
The green energy industry will generate over NT$200 billion (US$6.3 billion) in value and create 20,000 job opportunities this year, the energy bureau said. Industry output is expected to reach NT$1.16 trillion by 2015.
A poll on Monday conducted by the job bank shows that 76 percent of local office workers intend to become “green collar” workers. However, more than 55 percent of the poll’s respondents considered the lack of proper government promotion or private investment to be one of the major hurdles for green energy development in Taiwan, the survey found.