AU Optronics AU Optronics 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 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. This plant will […]

The CEO of the biggest solar cell company in the world JA Solar has said that he sees the current vicious industry downturn leading to 90% of all solar companies becoming extinct and a shortage in the market to hit the industry in 2014. However what he left unsaid was that JA Solar might itself […]

Solar power in the last few years has seen mainstream analysts, consultants and market research firms go massively wrong as they fail to understand the solar energy market. The massive decrease in prices of solar panels has led to a strong growth in demand driven by elasticity. Every year, analysts have underestimated demand for solar […]

The Companies that make the Solar Panels with the highest efficiences are Sunpower and Panasonic/Sanyo.Sunpower has the highest efficient solar modules in the market using a properietary process and has solar cells with efficiency reaching a top limit of 24%.Sanyo also has very efficient solar panels under the HIT brand name.These solar panels also approach the 18% range (solar modules not cells).Normal crystalline plain vanilla solar panels come in the range of 13-14%.Note solar modules have lower efficiency than solar cells as some area is left for the frame etc.There are other companies that are fast catching up to Sunpower and Sanyo in the high efficiency solar panels as well.Note higher efficiency solar panels sell at higher prices per watt as the require lesser area.AUO which has a JV with Sunpower has recently claimed to have produced the higher efficiency solar panel .

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.

While the major solar energy companies are expanding rapidly as the solar industry grew by almost 150% in 2010,a number of non-solar MNCs have gotten into this sector.The massive growth of solar industry which has been vastly underestimated by policymaker and analysts have not been hidden from these giant companies.While a number of these companies have been present since a long time,some are entering the growing solar energy field for the first time.Some like BP have lost the plot and become minor players despite being top companies a few years ago.Shell has totally left the solar energy field selling its plant to Motech.Asian conglomerates and semiconductor companies have been the most aggressive in entering this area.Chemical companies too have shown interest in building polysilicon plants which build on their core competence.Others have entered the Solar Thermal Energy Field which reinforces their traditional strengths in building power plants and EPC work.Here is list of the top non-solar companies entering the solar sector.