AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), the nation’s No. 2 LCD panel maker, has decided to use “BenQ Solar” as the new brand name for its solar power unit, after gaining authorization from affiliate BenQ Corp (明基電通).
The announcement represents AUO’s latest progress in the green energy industry as the firm targets increasing its presence in the global solar market as solar products become cheaper and more widely available to end users.
It also comes as the Hsinchu-based firm aims to leverage against the volatile LCD industry, as its flat-panel display business suffers huge losses because of a supply glut.
Last week, AUO posted record-high quarterly losses for the final quarter of last year, with net losses widening to NT$21 billion from NT$15.8 billion in the previous quarter.
“The focus of the photovoltaic market has gradually shifted from developing large utility projects toward commercial and residential markets. In Europe, the US and Japan, solar products have become consumer products,” AUO chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀) said in a statement yesterday. “With the support of BenQ’s well-established brand, global sales and service platform, BenQ Solar will rapidly expand its business and earn the trust of customers.”
Last week, the company announced it is to construct a 9 megawatt solar power plant in Pennsylvania School District in the US, following its first 1.2 megawatt solar project in South Africa in December and a 5 megawatt solar park in the UK in late 2010.
The company has also completed several solar projects in Taiwan, Germany and Italy.