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Chinese and Taiwanese companies start to set up/expand solar panel capacities in foreign countries

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The US and European sanctions on Chinese solar panel imports have distorted the global solar supply chain and led to inefficient value chains. China circumvented the first round of US solar duties by procuring solar cells from Taiwan. But as the second round of US sanctions plugged this loophole, new loopholes are being researched. Taiwanese solar cell companies such as Solartech are actively searching for new manufacturing locations where they will shift equipment from their Taiwanese factories. Even Chinese Tier 1 module companies are looking to expand capacities out of China, to avoid the European and US restrictions on Chinese solar panel imports.

Hanwha Solar One which is one of the 10 largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, is looking to expand its module capacity by 800 MW in Malaysia. The company which is a subsidiary of Korean chemical giant Hanwha is a sister company of Q-Cells. These two companies have bases in Germany, China and Malaysia. Hanwha will now serve Chinese and Japanese demand from its Chinese factories, while it will look to serve the US demand from its Malaysian factories. The US sanctions have not really helped the US manufacturing industry too much. It has raised the costs for consumers and allowed some non-viable units to keep running (Solarworld).


Taiwan-based solar cell producer, Solartech Energy is investing approximately US$16.2 million in Malaysia-based solar cell producer, TS Solartech Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tek Seng Holdings Bhd. Solartech Energy like other Taiwan-based solar cell producers have had sales impacted by the US anti-dumping case with sales falling from record peaks in the early part of the second quarter.

Producers such as Neo Solar Power have said that it was considering overseas production to avoid duties. Companies are also looking at expanding sales to Japan, a key market for many producers as Japanese manufacturers such as Sharp continue to outsource wafer, cell and module assembly to meet demand and limit capital expenditure.

Malaysia had been identified as a potential destination for Taiwan producers due to the establish supply chain, which supports both small local producers as well as the likes of Hanwha Q CELLS and Panasonic.

It would make sense for the USA to adopt a less blunt manner in dealing with massive Chinese solar panel imports. It could allow government procurement to be only USA based and it could also impose some kind of volume and price restrictions on the Chinese imports to keep the field level for US manufacturers. Putting a blanket ADD on imports is only helping non-Chinese countries at the cost of the US consumers. Europe is also not getting too much benefits from the Chinese quota for the same reason. There has been no new solar manufacturing facility set up in Europe. Most of the new capacity in the solar industry is being set up in Asia and Africa these days.


SunPower Corp. (SPWR), a leading solar technology and energy services provider, today announced plans to own and operate a solar panel manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa, to meet the growing demand for solar in that region.  At this new plant, SunPower will manufacture its high efficiency SunPower E20/440 Solar Panels and expects to produce up to 160-megawatts (MW) annually.  The company estimates that it will create up to 150 local jobs and will begin recruitment efforts in the first quarter of 2015.  This facility will also house SunPower’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operations & Management (O&M) offices, consolidating its South African business into one building.


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

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