Fri, Sep 17, 2010 - Page 12 News List

UMC solar cell unit plans to expand

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Topcell Solar International Co (聯景光電), a solar cell manufacturing unit that is owned by United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), said yesterday it is planning to expand its production capacity to tap the growing green energy business.

Under the expansion plan, Topcell is expected to boost its annual production capacity to 450 megawatts at the beginning of next year from the current 150 megawatts and to further raise capacity to 800 megawatts in the third quarter of next year.

Topcell, in which UMC — the world’s second-largest microchip maker — owns a 60 percent stake, officially became operational after a trial production period started late last month.

Because of the production capacity expansion plan, Topcell is raising funds to lift its paid-in capital to NT$1.2 billion (US$38 million) at the end of this month from NT$800 million.

At an opening ceremony for Topcell, Lai Chun-lin (賴俊麟) senior vice president of UMC’s new business division, said the company’s order book is completely full until the end of next year.

Topcell president Allen Guo (郭俊華) said that although the solar energy business will enter a slow season in December, it is just part of the industry’s cycle, adding that business will pick up again in the second quarter of next year.

Lai also said that another UMC solar energy unit — Everrich Energy Corp (永盛), which specializes in solar energy system integration — has completed the installation of a solar power plant for a client in China’s Shandong Province, with annual production capacity of 18 megawatts.

With China’s solar energy market growing fast, UMC has long-targeted the country as a priority in the development of its green energy business, he said.

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