The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to maintain feed-in tariffs for new solar power installations and grant a three-month grace period for manufacturers to complete their projects, as renewable energy installations have slumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministry made the announcement after government officials and industry experts met on Thursday last week and agreed to extend feed-in tariffs to solar power projects that have been approved in the first half of this year.
The ministry usually holds two meetings each year to review feed-in tariff rates for solar and other renewable energy power developers. It tended to gradually reduce the tariffs as in other countries, given falling installation costs.
Photo: Chang Hui-wen, Taipei Times
The ministry said it would keep the feed-in tariff at NT$3.79 to NT$5.67 per unit for solar energy, instead of lowering the rates to NT$3.73 to NT$5.63 per unit.
“The level 3 alert to curb infections has affected solar installations in the past two months and could further affect the nation’s progress in reaching its solar energy target,” the ministry said in a statement.
“To reach the nation’s renewable installation goal and to provide incentives to resume installations, feed-in tariffs are to remain the same,” it said.
However, solar cell and module manufacturers United Renewable Energy Co (聯合再生), Motech Industries Inc (茂迪) and TSE Corp (元晶太陽能) called for a hike in feed-in tariffs, as solar installation costs have soared over the past year, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported on Thursday last week, citing a joint statement by the companies.
The costs of steel, aluminum racks, silicon wafers and labor have been rising over the past year, prompting solar energy developers to halt installations to avoid losses, the companies said.
Furthermore, feed-in tariffs are not based on current market prices, as the rates are determined by a third-party research institution, which uses outdated price information in its calculations, they said.
Solar energy developers urged the ministry to raise feed-in tariffs to reflect higher costs, saying that more solar installation projects would be suspended otherwise, the paper reported.
Local solar project developers have seen installation costs jump more than 20 percent, wiping out their profit margin, Photovoltaic Generation System Association chairman Tsai Tsung-rung (蔡宗融) wrote on Facebook on June 4.
Facebook Inc on Wednesday reported its profit doubled in the second quarter as digital advertising surged, but warned of cooler growth in the months ahead in an update that sent its shares sinking. Profit rose to US$10.4 billion on revenue of US$29 billion, a 56 percent increase from last year, mainly from an increase in ad revenue, Facebook said. The number of people using the social network monthly climbed to 2.9 billion, a year-on-year gain of 7 percent, while about 3.5 billion people used at least one of the company’s apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. “We had a strong quarter, as we
FURTHER TAX MEASURES NEEDED? Corporate owners accounted for almost 30 percent of empty houses, many of which are held by firms that own 10 or more properties The number of unoccupied houses nationwide totaled 876,000 units last year, or 11.94 percent of all houses, the Ministry of the Interior said in a report issued on Thursday. Almost 30 percent of empty houses were owned by companies, suggesting that many corporate property owners engage in house hoarding, the ministry said. Excluding developers and builders, companies still owned 20 percent of empty houses, it said. The report is based on housing units’ electricity use and considers properties that use less than 60 kilowatt-hours per month as unoccupied. The study contradicts Ministry of Finance reports saying that house hoarding subsided and there is no
HIGH-END MARKET: The company has sufficient growth upsides in its four major business segments to reach revenue of US$20 billion, CEO Rick Tsai told investors MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the world’s biggest supplier of 5G smartphone chips, yesterday raised its revenue growth target for this year to more than 45 percent, after strong demand mainly for its mid-range and premium 5G chips pushed net profit to a record high last quarter. The Hsinchu-based chip designer had three months earlier projected a 40 percent growth from NT$322.16 billion (US$11.48 billion) last year. MediaTek expects next year to be another growth year, with a higher 5G penetration rate and accelerating digital transformation during the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. The company also gained confidence about its gross margin improvement on the expectation
CAUSE INVESTIGATED: The incident occurred early in the morning, when electricity demand was low, and did not result in a power outage or a radiation leak, Taipower said The No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) experienced a malfunction that triggered an automatic shutdown early yesterday morning, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said. The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated, but there is no risk of a radiation leak, the state-run utility said. “While we are still investigating the exact cause, the automatic shutdown was safely executed and there is no danger from radiation,” Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷舒) said. The malfunction occurred at 6:33am, triggering an emergency shutdown, taking 985 megawatts of power offline, Chang said. The control