Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan Solar to boost annual capacity to 1.5GW to meet upturn in demand

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solar Energy Corp (TSEC, 元晶太陽能) plans to boost its annual capacity to 1.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, compared with this year’s 800 megawatts, to meet an upturn in demand, the company said.

The company, which debuted on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, said it needs to expand capacity because it cannot fully satisfy demand now.

Current factory utilization stands at more than 90 percent, the company said.

“The solar industry has been growing rapidly over the past decade by a double-digit percent... This year, demand from solar panel installations will grow more than 20 percent annually in terms of capacity,” TSEC chairman Ellick Liao (廖國榮) said at the company’s initial public offering (IPO) ceremony in the exchange.

“Demand has never been a problem. We expect demand will continue to grow moderately,” Liao said.

Escalating global warming and air pollution are two driving forces behind the increasing adoption of solar energy, he said.

In addition, the cost of solar energy has fallen.

In Taiwan, energy derived from solar roof panels has almost reached price parity with fossil-fuel grid power as the cost of solar energy has dropped to NT$4.2 per unit from NT$9 per unit over the past five years, Liao said.

Grid power cost dropped to NT$3.6 per unit this year from last year’s NT$4.5 per unit due to lower crude oil prices, he said.

TSEC shares yesterday rose 1.85 percent to close at NT$13.75 in Taipei trading, compared with the listing price of NT$13.5 per share.

The company operates 48 solar power stations in Taiwan via its subsidiary Formosa Sun Energy Corp (厚聚能源).

Taiwan Solar plans to double the number to 100 next year, with installed capacity totaling 10 megawatts.

It posted profits of NT$173 million (US$5.23 million at current exchange rates) last year and NT$270 million in 2013, but lost NT$32.07 million in the first half of this year as demand weakened in China and adverse impacts from the anti-dumping lawsuits in the US.

Liao said the company swung into profit in August after solar cell prices rebounded.

Revenue grew 49 percent from a year earlier to NT$703 million in August, company data showed.

Liao said demand for the company’s high-efficiency solar cells remains strong, with the company’s order visibility about six months from now.

“We expect growth momentum to strengthen gradually throughout this year,” he said.

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