Wed, May 16, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Local solar firms say revenue set to lose its shine

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese solar power companies are expected to see their revenue drop 17 percent this year before stabilizing prices in the upcoming year help sales surge next year, a Taipei-based research house forecast yesterday.

Revenues this year are expected to drop to NT$139 billion (US$4.71 billion) from NT$168 billion as oversupply and slow demand drove prices further down, following a 70 percent price decline last year, Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA, 光電科技協進會) forecast yesterday.

“This year, the demand-supply gap will still be large,” PIDA analyst Karen Ho (何孟穎) said during a media briefing.

Globally, 30 gigawatts (GW) worth of solar panels will be installed this year, while supply will expand to 50GW, Ho said.

REBOUND

“However, prices have hit bottom,” she said. “We are seeing increased demand from Europe and Japan as the German and Japanese governments are starting new subsidy plans. Demand from China and the US will set in during the second half.”

That bodes well for a better recovery next year. Next year, local solar companies are expected to increase their revenue by about 39 percent to NT$193.7 billion from this year, helped by growing shipments and stable prices, Ho said.

In Taiwan, local solar companies would also benefit from sizzling demand for green energy sources, Ho said.

She expected installation of solar units to increase to 100MW this year, Ho said.

LOCAL INITIATIVES

“Local governments are very aggressive in pushing to install solar panels on the rooftops of farms and fishing farms in the southern counties of Taiwan because of a long period of sunny days,” she said.

Last year, the installation of solar power systems reached 35MW through government subsidies and that number would double to 70MW this year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The government has also started a medium and long-term plan to subsidize the installation of 1.02GW rooftop solar power systems until 2020, including 100MW of installations planned for this year, according to the ministry.

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