Taiwanese solar companies reported 27.5 percent quarterly growth in revenue for last quarter, benefiting from strong demand in Japan and German as well as from Chinese companies because of China’s trade disputes with the US and EU, a research house said yesterday.
Revenue increased to NT$22.78 billion (US$760 million) in the first three months of the year, from NT$17.86 billion in the final quarter of last year, the Industry and Technology Intelligence Service (ITIS) said in a report.
That figure represents an annual decline of 8 percent, according to ITIS.
Sales of solar cells jumped 25 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$15.58 billion, accounting for 68 percent of the industry’s total revenue last quarter.
The growth momentum is expected to continue this quarter as demand from Chinese solar companies is likely to continue to grow as they may face new punitive import tariffs imposed by the European Commission, which is expected to unveil a preliminary ruling on Chinese solar panels on June 6, ITIS said.
Revenue is expected to grow 14.4 percent to NT$26.07 billion this quarter from last quarter, ITIS said.
“Demand is likely to remain strong in the second quarter as Chinese solar companies may further diversify their solar cell and solar module sources to cope with the upcoming ruling from European Commission,” ITIS analyst Jay Wang (王孟傑) said by telephone yesterday.
Demand from Japan has been robust due to favorable government policies, Wang said.
The Japanese government has plans to provide low-interest loans to citizens to install solar systems on residential rooftops, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday.
“Some local solar module makers’ capacities are totally booked by their Japanese customers,” Wang said.
Factory utilization may rise to more than 95 percent on average this quarter, Wang forecast.
Wang has raised his revenue forecast for local solar companies for this year from NT$80 billion to NT$95.78 billion. That represented an annual growth of 1.5 percent from NT$94.39 billion.
Supply has decreased as some solar firms such as China’s largest, Suntech Power Holdings Co (尚德), launched restructuring programs to mitigate the huge losses incurred after solar product prices plunged by 40 percent to 60 percent annually last year, which would help slow price decline, he said.
Shares of Motech Industries Inc (茂迪), the nation’s biggest solar cell maker, plummeted 6.94 percent to NT$41.55 after hitting their highest position in almost a year on Friday last week.
The stock prices of solar cell makers Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶) and Neo Solar Power Corp (日月光) yesterday tumbled 4.33 percent and 3.77 percent to NT$32 and NT$25.5 respectively.