Although Taiwan has become the second largest solar cell manufacturing base next to China, policies in place to support domestic PV installations only stretch to a meagre target of 200MW.
As a result, the country is missing-out on support for its highly respected manufacturing expertise to develop PV module manufacturing and the downstream expertise in project development and installations, according to Taiwanese PV trade associations and leading manufacturers at a press conference held before the PV Taiwan exhibition (Taiwan International Photovoltaic Exhibition) unfolds at the TWTC Exhibition Hall on October 30th through to November 1st.
Dr. Peng Heng Chang, CEO of Motech Industries, Taiwan’s largest integrated PV manufacturer, stressed the need for policy makers in the country to get behind support for solar installations and called for greater efforts to build general public awareness of the benefits of adopting solar as part of the energy mix in the country.
Such support would enable Taiwanese PV firms to develop the downstream domestic market with the result that PV module manufacturing would prosper – supporting further ability to target PV module exports in the future.
The call was echoed by Sam Hong, chairman of the Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association (TPVIA), and president of Neo Solar Power, which is one of the organisers of the event, noting that annual production value of Taiwan’s PV cell manufacturing industry was over NT$250 billion (US$8.5 billion) and three of the top ten global PV cell vendors were Taiwanese companies.
The show organisers also acknowledged that the last two years of industry overcapacity had been difficult to cope with for Taiwan manufacturers, and that was reflected in a considerable drop in the number of booths and exhibitors this year.
Organisers noted that the show this year had 405 booths, compared to 800 booths in 2012. In total, 156 companies were exhibiting this year but attendance was still expected to be high due to the inclusion of several new strategies to strengthen the event as an important venue for the global PV industry.
Key has been the inclusion of the 23rd PVSEC technical conference, which is being held in conjunction with PV Taiwan exhibition but spanning the entire week.
PVSEC was said to have attracted more than 500 published academic papers from 25 nations, as well as sessions with hundreds of industry experts from all over the world, including Prof. Martin Green, from UNSW in Australia.
In line with Taiwan’s PV manufacturing strengths, the organisers have also arranged for over 100 procurement meetings to take place to further support business development with Taiwanese companies and their efforts to boost exports.
The event is expected to draw around 10,000 PV professionals from around 70 countries including top buyers, academics and industrial leaders.
Executives attending the press conference noted that the PV industry was in recovery mode and that 2013 would be a “healthy year’” as market demand grows and overcapacity is “solved”.