Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan needs carbon trading market: URE

NEW FIRM:A carbon trading exchange is key to encouraging investment in ground-mount solar panels, the chairman of the new entity told a Taipei ceremony yesterday

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

From left, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Jing-sen, United Renewable Energy Co (URE) chief executive Pan Wen-whe, URE chairman Sam Hong, Vice Premier Shih-Jun-ji and National Development Council Deputy Minister Cheng Cheng-mount pose for photographers at the launch ceremony for URE yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Chang Hui-wen, Taipei Times

The government needs to create a local carbon trading market to encourage the private sector to invest in ground-mount solar arrays and help accelerate the nation’s shift to greener energy consumption, the newly formed United Renewable Energy Co (URE, 聯合再生能源) said yesterday.

URE was created through a merger of three solar cell manufactures — Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光能源), Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶能源) and Solartech Energy Corp (昇陽光電). Neo Solar, the surviving entity, is to be officially renamed URE next month.

The government has set a goal to complete the deployment of solar panels with an installed capacity of 20 gigawatts by 2025, part of its efforts to make the nation a nuclear-free country.

Its goals include having renewable energy make up 20 percent of total power generation within the next seven years, and it is pushing for the installation of large-scale ground-mount solar arrays, while a solar subsidy program is now in its second stage. It also plans to subsidize 17 gigawatt solar panels by 2025.

“Building a carbon trading exchange is crucial to stimulate interest in investing in ground-mount solar panels, as operators can make better returns on selling carbon credits and recover investments faster,” URE chairman Sam Hong (洪傳獻) said during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the company’s establishment.

Traditionally, operators make money by selling electricity generated by solar panels to state-owned Taiwan Power Co (台電), based on the fixed feed-in tariffs set by the government, Hong said.

Without an official carbon trading mechanism, companies with environmental obligations currently trade carbon credits, or green certificates, privately, he said.

“Such a trading pattern is not healthy as the certificates or credits could be traded at unfair prices. It also lacks transparency,” Hong said.

Building ground-mount solar arrays is much more complicated and expensive, as a sizable amount of land must be acquired and an electrical wiring network established, he said.

URE aims to become a company that offers total solutions for the solar cell industry, and has set a revenue goal of NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) for next year.

It estimates that its revenue could more than double within five years to NT$90 billion.

The new firm’s workforce is about 5,000 smaller than the total of the three firms after 25 to 30 percent of their employees quit following the merger, URE said.

Shares of Neo Solar yesterday tumbled 2.57 percent to NT$9.47 in Taipei trading.

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