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European Solar Installers and Taiwanese Solar Cell Producers Biggest Beneficiaries of the US-China Trade Spat

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The US imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on China made solar cells has brought out unintended beneficiaries and losers. I had explained in an earlier post that US based polysilicon factories and solar equipment makers will be hurt due to this decision. They will probably face Chinese government duties on imports of polysilicon and equipment where USA has a large trade surplus. The Chinese based solar panel producers and the US domestic solar panel companies won’t be affected too greatly.

Solar Industry is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet and the number of companies in the industry have increased dramatically attracted by the strong growth prospects and low entry barriers. The number of solar companies have increased globally.Taiwanese solar companies which are primarily present in the solar cell part of the supply chain will benefit quite a lot. Note US duties have been imposed on Chinese based cells not on wafers or modules. So this means that a number of Taiwanese solar cell firms can provide OEM services to big Chinese players in the solar cell side. China based players can provide the wafers which will be processed into solar cells.These solar cells can then by shipped back where the Chinese solar companies can integrate them into modules and sell it in the US.

Apart from Taiwanese companies, European installers of solar systems will benefit as a lot of the Chinese solar cell capacity will get diverted there at very cheap prices. This means there will be a meaningful gap between prices paid for Chinese solar panels in Europe and USA which will be further be accentuated by the US duties.

List of Solar Companies in Taiwan -

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Other Solar Producers are Mosel Viteltic,Big Sun,Tainergy,Sunrise,Sun-Q,Top Cell,TGE,Ever Energy,Danen Technology,Eversol,Wafer Works,PCM,Eaton,Alberex and Motech

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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in or call me on +913340606492.

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