Wed, Mar 09, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Solar-cell maker Neo Solar steps up capacity expansion

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Local solar-cell maker Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光能源) is stepping up capacity expansion efforts this year to better cope with voracious demand for its products amid rising solar panel installation in Europe and Asia, company executives said yesterday.

The Hsinchu-based company aimed to more than double its annual capacity to 1.8 gigawatts by the end of this year, from 820 megawatts last year. Originally, Neo Solar planned to expand capacity to 1.3 gigawatts.

“Neo Solar will operate its plants at full capacity again this year,” company chairman Quincy Lin (林坤禧) told a media briefing yesterday.

Orders from customers have exceeded capacity by 10 percent based on signed supply contracts, Neo Solar said.

“Global effective capacity is likely to be less than demand this year. What’s more, there is the probability of short supply,” Lin said.

Solar panel installation is expected to grow 20 percent to around 18 gigawatts this year, up from 15 gigawatts last year as demand rises primarily in Germany — which consumed half of the world’s solar panels last year — and other markets such as Italy, Japan and India, Neo Solar president Sam Hong (洪傳獻) said.

Solar panel installation is likely to spike before the German government begins to cut subsidies in the third quarter, supporting a slight rebound in solar-cell prices in the first half of the year, Hong said.

He said prices started to bounce back last month after bad weather and uncertainty over new green energy subsidies dampened solar panel installation in Europe, causing a decline in solar-cell prices since December.

Local rival Motech Industries Inc (茂迪) yesterday said revenues grew 24.43 percent to NT$3.86 billion (US$131 million) last month from NT$3.1 billion in January. Neo Solar said last week that last month’s revenues surged to a new record high of NT$2.45 billion.

To help fund the capacity expansion, Neo Solar planned to raise between US$250 million and US$300 million initially by selling as many as 120 million common shares in the form of global depositary receipts next quarter.

The company budgeted NT$10 billion for capital spending this year.

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