Mon, Aug 27, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Merged solar firms plan services shift

TURNAROUND STRATEGY:The firm is to focus on selling solar systems, no longer relying on solar cells, and plans to turn profitable in three years, UREC executives said

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Newly formed United Renewable Energy Co (UREC, 聯合再生能源) plans to set up a team focusing on better-margin solar arrays and solar power plant construction projects.

The special team is also to help clients find equity investors, and deal with loan and tax matters, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

UREC, which combines three solar cell makers — Neo Solar Power Energy Corp (新日光能源), Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶能源) and Solartech Energy Corp (昇陽光電) — is to start formal operation on Oct. 1.

It aims to turn profitable in three years, company executives said.

“The new company will not rely on manufacturing and selling solar cells to make a profit, but will focus on selling solar systems,” UREC chairman Sam Hong (洪傳獻) told a news conference.

While the newly merged entity is still in the process of corporate restructuring and resource integration, UREC has secured solar power plant construction projects with 1 gigawatt installed capacity with customers in the US, the UK, Japan, Latin America and Dubai, Hong said.

In Taiwan, the company is in talks with customers to build 400 megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic arrays in Changhua and Chiayi counties, Hong said.

The company plans to proceed on the projects worth NT$20 billion (US$649.7 million) in cooperation with a Japanese private equity fund once the deals have been finalized, he said.

UREC has also collaborated with a local life insurance company to build 100 megawatt solar arrays for a fish farm in Tainan, with the construction work set to begin next year, the company said.

So far, UREC has helped customers build solar plants with an aggregate capacity of 500 megawatts in Taiwan, Japan, the US and Europe, the company said.

To pursue profitability, UREC aims to expand its solar module capacities and improve the cost structure of solar cell manufacturing, Hong said.

“Our strategy is to concentrate on providing services to build solar power plants,” UREC chief executive officer Pan Wen-whe (潘文輝) said. “We also intend to build our own brand of solar modules. To save costs, we plan to outsource production of solar modules.”

With these efforts under way, UREC expects to break even by the end of next year and swing into the black by 2020, Hong said.

In the second quarter of the year, the three solar cell makers saw their combined losses fall 31 percent to NT$967 million from the first quarter, with overall revenue down 1.2 percent to NT$6.05 billion, company data showed.

The narrowing losses reflected early gains from consolidation and strategic transformation, Hong said.

Meanwhile, revenue fell less than expected in the face of China’s new energy policy, which took effect in June and significantly scaled back solar subsidiaries, he said.

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