United Renewable Energy Co (URE, 聯合再生能源), the nation’s biggest solar module supplier, yesterday said that demand has picked up rapidly this quarter, primarily from the home market.
Lockdowns worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic hindered demand and slowed solar panel installations in the first half of the year, but demand bounced back strongly after businesses reopened last quarter, URE said.
“We are optimistic about the fourth quarter, as customers are racing to install solar panels by the end of this year to match the government’s efforts to boost solar energy installations,” said a company official, who asked not to be named as they are not the company’s spokesperson.
Photo: Lisa Wang, Taipei Times
The growth momentum is driven by pent-up demand primarily from local clients, URE said.
Resilient domestic demand has boosted revenue contribution from the home market to 50 percent, compared with 30 percent last year, the official said.
Recovering demand drove factory utilization to almost 100 percent, URE chief executive officer Pan Wen-whe (潘文輝) told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the company eked out a profit last quarter, snapping six quarters of losses.
Solar panel installations in Taiwan have lagged far behind government targets due to the pandemic and other factors, including a U-turn in government policy, former TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) solar industry analyst Sharen Chen (陳君盈) told a solar energy forum yesterday.
The Bureau of Energy aims to install 2.3 gigawatts of solar panels by the end of this year, which is part of the government’s greater renewable energy policy through 2025.
The government expects solar energy nationwide to reach 20 gigawatts by 2025, Chen said.
However, he forecast that solar panel installations this year would only reach 1.2 gigawatts.
Chen said he cut his estimate for this year after the Council of Agriculture backtracked on a policy of releasing idled farmland for ground-mount solar farms.
She did not provide comparative figures.
Separately, TSEC Corp (元晶太陽能) yesterday also reported a strong rebound in demand, with good order visibility through the first quarter of next year, after securing big orders, such as Taiwan Power Co’s (台電) 100-megawatt project at the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park (彰濱工業區).
Factory utilization has reached 90 percent, TSEC said.
To cope with rising demand, TSEC’s board of directors last month approved a proposal to spend NT$626.29 million (US$21.63 million) on a new solar cell module capacity expansion plan.
TSEC’s net profit last month surged 241.45 percent year-on-year to NT$46.64 million, or NT$0.12 per share, it said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
MOMENTUM: While next-generation smartphones feature more semiconductors and vendors increase their inventory, the chipmaker remains focused on production in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the sole chip supplier for Apple Inc’s iPhone series, yesterday raised its revenue forecast again, saying that robust demand for 5G smartphones and high-performance-computing (HPC) would help boost revenue this year by 30 percent in US dollar terms. Three months ago, the chipmaker estimated that revenue would grow 20 percent this year from last year, reaching its long-term growth target of 15 to 20 percent annually. “Moving into the fourth quarter, we expect our growth in revenue to be supported by strong demand for our industry-leading 5-nanometer technology driven by 5G smartphone launches and HPC-related applications,”
WIN-WIN SITUATION: Customers, products and client portfolios of the companies are complementary, allowing for inroads into new fields, Chipbond’s chairman said Chipbond Technology Corp (頎邦) yesterday said it plans to acquire about a 31 percent stake in Orient Semiconductor Electronics Ltd (華泰電子) in a cash-and-share deal, aiming to make inroads into flash memory-chip packaging. Chipbond said the strategic alliance would open the door for the company to enter the flash memorychip packaging and testing market, which is a new business for the Hsinchu-based company. Chipbond primarily provides testing and packaging services for driver integrated circuits that are used in flat panels. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY “Except for flash memory chips, we also saw a lot of new businesses that require the technologies of Chipbond or Oriental
India’s COVID-19 economic gloom turned into despair this week, on news that its per capita GDP for this year might be lower than that of Bangladesh. “Any emerging economy doing well is good news,” Kaushik Basu, a former World Bank chief economist, said on Twitter after the IMF updated its World Economic Outlook. “But it’s shocking that India, which had a lead of 25% five years ago, is now trailing.” Ever since it began opening up the economy in the 1990s, India’s dream has been to emulate China’s rapid expansion. After three decades of persevering with that campaign, slipping behind Bangladesh hurts
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It