Taiwan cell producers ship record 10GW in 2014 but issues loom - EnergyTrend

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According to market research firm, EnergyTrend Taiwan-based solar cell producers shipped more than 10GW of cells in 2014, despite the impact of US anti-dumping duties. 

The new shipment record is 20% higher than was achieved in 2013, according to EnergyTrend, which was attributed to an increase in actual shipments but also increases in solar cell conversion efficiency gains in the year. 

Neo Solar Power’s (NSP) cell shipments accounted for 22% of total annual shipments, while Motech and Gintech’s shipments accounted for 16% and 15%, respectively. 

As such, the three leading Taiwanese cell producers accounted for 53% of the total shipments in 2014. 

Taiwan-based EnergyTrend noted that when Motech’s merger of Topcell is finalised by the end of June, 2015 Motech’s post-merger production capacity is estimated to reach 3GW, surpassing NSP as the leading cell producer in Taiwan. 

Looming issues

However, EnergyTrend sees some looming issues facing Taiwanese cell producers in 2015. 

Firstly, the loss of sales to Chinese PV module manufacturer’s after the latest US anti-dumping duties, which have resulted in a drastic decline in orders for the cell producers. Although the impact has been muted by strong seasonal demand from Japan and Europe, ASPs were said to have declined due to a steep depreciation of the euro and yen and the knock-on effect of customers in these regions pushing for lower pricing to compensate. 

Secondly, EnergyTrend believes the impact from the loss of sales to China will filter through after the first quarter of 2015, as well as a reduction in production due to Taiwan cell producers planning to move some production lines overseas to counter the US duties and regain Chinese customers business. Shipments in that timeframe will therefore be lower, impacting revenue until overseas operations ramp production.

Thirdly, Taiwanese cell makers should increase their monocrystalline cell production capacities in order to match the production of modules with higher wattages as well as developing new sales channels and markets. 

“Global solar installations are gradually moving away from the large, ground-mounted PV systems for power plants to commercial applications and solar roof panels for homes,” said EnergyTrend’s analyst Angus Kao. “And for that reason Taiwanese PV companies need to improve PV cells’ conversion efficiency.” 

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