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Taiwan Solar Energy Challenging China – Taiwanese Solar Cell,Wafer,Panel,Inverter Manufacturers following the Semi Success Path

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The Taiwanese Solar Industry has become the 2nd largest in the world following in the footsteps of China.Taiwanese Solar Industry has a longer history than the Chinese with Solar Cell Makers Motech and E-Ton establishing themselves globally way back in 2006.However the steep fall in solar panel  prices following the Lehman crisis had led to losses for these companies as the Chinese companies surged ahead using their low cost manufacturing.The crisis also led to the emergence of newer Taiwanese companies like Gintech,Neo Solar which are growing at extremely fast rates.Note Taiwan is a hub of semiconductor manufacturing with leading companies like TSMC,AUO,UMC,HTC etc.Solar Industry uses many of the same technologies,raw materials and techniques common to semiconductor and Display Panels Production giving Taiwanese firms a natural advantage.Taiwan has been predominantly present in the crystalline Solar Cell part of the supply chain and lacks a big manufacturer of polysilicon ( though a facility has been started).The lack of vertical integration has also made the costs of the Taiwanese industry higher.The entry of large companies like AUO,TSMC has further increased the competition in the Taiwanese market.Note Taiwan’s government has also promoted the use of solar energy in the country through the use of a Feed in Tariff program.

List of the major Solar Cell,Wafer and Panel Producers in Taiwan

Taiwanese Solar Cell Producers

Gintech – This Taiwanese company has become the biggest solar cell producer in the country overtaking Motech.The company continues to expand aggressively as it uses its high quality to win more contracts from Japanese and European customers.

Neo Solar - This is one of the fastest growing companies in Taiwan and has focused on solar cells.It has managed to grow revenues and shipments despite tough competition from domestic as well as international competition.

Del Solar - This company is another Taiwanese one with big operations in solar cells like the others.The company is also a new one like Neo Solar and has given strong competition to others like Motech.

E-Ton – This Taiwanese Solar Cell Producer used to be one of the biggest pre 2008,however currently it faces huge headwinds.The company faces financial problems from a US acquisition that went wrong.It was on the verge of selling itself to Foxconn but the deal did not went through.

SolarTech - SolarTech is one of the biggest producers of solar cell producers in Taiwan and has managed to grow at a rapid pace like Neo Solar and Gintech.The company has formed a JV with SAS to producer solar wafers.

Other Solar Cell Producers are Mosel Viteltic,Big Sun,Tainergy,Sunrise,Sun-Q,Top Cell,TGE,Ever Energy

Taiwan’s Vertically Integrated Solar Companies

Motech – The company which used to be a pure play cell producer has expanded into polysilicon,modules and wafers.It is one of the oldest solar cell companies in Taiwan and faced tough times in 2008 post the GFC.TSMC owns a stake in this company.The company bought a solar module facility in the US and is starting polysilicon production at its subsidiary AES Polysilicon.

TSMC - TSMC has been a late entrant into the solar energy market but is making much smarter moves than its Taiwanese peers.It bought a 20% stake in Motech (Taiwan’s oldest and largest solar cell company) for $192 million.It bought this stake at an opportune time when the stock prices of solar companies are trading at trough valuations.Its $50 million stake buy in Khosla backed unlisted CIGS startup Stion is another smart investment.Stion is looking  to partner with major semi companies for manufacturing and TSMC which is the world’s largest foundry is an ideal partner.TSMC has started a new JV with Green Energy Technology (GET),Taiwan’s only Polysilicon Producer to start a production facility which would make solar wafers.GET will own 40% of the new company as it possesses the expertise in producing solar wafers.

AUO – AUO is one of the world’s leading LCD panel manufacturers with most of its manufacturing facilities located in Taiwan.AUO has a  JV with SunPower’s to build 1.4 gigawatt third solar cell fabrication facility  in Malaysia. SunPower and AUO will equally own the JV and contribute equal capital funding.AUO is also building cell and module plants in Taiwan as well.It recently claimed the world’s most efficient solar panel with 19.5% efficiency.AUO has also bought M.Setek a large Japanese producer of polysilicon and wafer making it a vertically integrated player in a short time.AUO recently displayed the world’s most efficient solar module.The company also released a solar powered notebook.

Taiwanese Solar Wafer Producers

Green Energy Technology – This Taiwanese producer of solar wafers has left other domestic competitors behind in capacity increase.Primarily supplies to the numerous solar cell makers in Taiwan

SAS - Sino American Silicon (SAS) is one of the oldest wafer producers in Taiwan and supplies to both semiconductor and solar industries.It has been growing steadily rather than expanding too aggressively.

Other smaller Solar Wafer Producers are Danen Technology,Eversol,Wafer Works.

Taiwan’s Only Polysilicon Company

Taiwan Polysilcon (TPSI) is the only company in Taiwan which produces the raw material for c-Si Solar Panels.The company recently started operations at its 8000 tons polysilicon plant.This plant will be ramped up to as high as 28000 tons in the future.Note TPSI is a JV between LED producer Everlight Electronics and Chemicals company Lee Chang Yung Chemical Ind Corp

Taiwan Solar Thin Film Producers

The Taiwanese Solar Thin Film Industry is not big as the crystalline solar sector.However there are a number of companies involved in Thin Film as well.Some of the Thin Film companies are NexPower,SunWell,Auria (a-Si) and Axuntek,PVnext,JennFeng,Sunshine PV (CIGs)

Taiwanese Solar Inverter Producers

Delta Electronics – Taiwanese Giant Electronics Firm entered the solar inverter market by buying up the Inverter Division of German Solar Comapny Solon.The company has production facilities in Taiwan and is setting up a production base in Chennai to capitalize on the Solar Inverter Opportunity.Delta is also expanding in countries like Singapore and Germany to take advantage of the the growth in Green Industry.

Other Solar Inverter Producers are PCM,Eaton,Alberex and Motech.

Solar Panels Conductive Paste

Giga Solar Materials is one of the world’s leading producer of  silver conductive pastes  used as positive electrodes of solar batteries.

Summary

Taiwan’s Solar Industry is highly developed and present in all parts of the Solar Supply China.Most of the country’s large electronic and semiconductor corporate groups are involved directly or through small equity stakes in the solar industry.For example  HTC promoters hold major equity stakes in Solartech and SAS.The country produces almost 15-20% of the world’s solar panels and is growing at a rapid pace.Taiwanese Solar Producers are also expanding their factories in China to take advantage of the low cost labor and cheap capital in the country.UMC has major operations and expansion plans of its solar division in China.

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  3. Solar Inverters in India to be domestically produced by Delta Electronics in Chennai
  4. List of World’s Top (Solar,Semi) 8 Polysilicon Companies – Asia Rising as Big get Bigger
  5. List of World’s Top Solar Wafer Companies – Growing Bigger
  6. List of Top 15 Global Solar Thin Film Companies – Who will Survive and Who Won’t
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  8. TSMC Incredibly Low Solar Module Cost Target of 19c/watt Sounds Very Scary for the Competition
  9. AUO’s Gigawatt Solar Ambitions hit an Environmental Bump over Manufacturing in Taiwan
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PG

Abhishek Shah

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