Taiwan solar firm TSEC had originally planned to set up a joint venture with si wafer foundry Gigastorage Corp, in order to co-establish a module company and set up 2GW module capacity. This collaboration format is now changed. TSEC will instead set up module business division. Gigastorage will adjust the way it collaborates with TSEC.
TSEC’s original goal was to establish a joint venture with several firms, including Gigastorage’s subsidiary, Giga Solar Materials Corp. (GSMC). The capital stock would amount to NT$ 1 billion. TSEC would possess a 30% stake and become the largest stock holder. TSEC has already purchased land, and broken ground on factories in Pingtung, Taiwan. With a goal of maximum 2GW capacity, it is scheduled to finish construction by 2020. The first phase of construction is expected to establish capacity of 550~800MW, and the company is expected to start mass production in 1Q18.
This collaboration plan has recently experienced some changes, according to Economic Daily News. TSEC announced that it would establish a module business division within the company and increase its total capital by raising 50 million shares. Under this arrangement, Gigastorage would assume the role of a special participant and investor.
Taiwan’s PV insiders have been concerned about whether or not the joint venture factory construction project would receive sufficient capital investment. Upon further evaluation, TSEC’s board of directors had decided on June 27th, 2017 that it would be more practical to set up a division for module manufacturing.
In order to build the module factory, TSEC is expected to apply for syndicated loan and finance for NT$ 1.2 billion by 4Q17.
From Gigastorage's perspective, it originally planned to invest nearly NT$ 200 million for this joint venture. After the change of plans, Gigastorage still wants to participate in the capital increase of TSEC, but Gigastorage's board of directors must approve first.
TSEC's module house division will start to manufacture as scheduled
Setting up of the new firm was canceled, but TSEC's module factory will set off according to its schedule. After the groundbreaking ceremony in this April, TSEC's initial stage 500MW module capacity will be scheduled to begin trial production in late 2017 and will reach mass production phase early 2018.
Regarding newly-added or existing module capacity, adding to TSEC mentioned above, Neo Solar Power (NSP) also started operation of high efficiency module house with 200MW capacity while focusing on manufacturing mono PERC modules. A 60-cell module's power output can reach 305W. NSP is expected to ship out about 100MW in 2017. Moreover, NSP's affiliated enterprise General Energy Solutions is operating its 60MW module factory.
There are 60MW module capacity in Solartech Energy Corp., and it is expected to expand to 180MW in July 2017. As to the module capacity of Gintung Energy Corporation, a joint venture of Tatung and Gintech, it owns around 180MW capacity. With its differentiation strategy, Gintung is devoted to developing light-weighted modules.
Taiwan government already exempted solar energy glass' 10% commodity tax, and exempted import tariff of four critical module materials (PV glass, silicon, packaging material, and junction box) in May and June 2017. These policies are likely to lower production costs of Taiwan's local module houses, and improve their price competitiveness. More than a dozen firms that are expected to receive advantages include TSEC, AUO, Gintung, NSP (General Energy Solutions), Inventec Solar Energy, and Motech Industries Inc.
There are currently about 2GW module capacities in Taiwan, based on EnergyTrend's statistics. If these definitely scheduled or assumingly scheduled capacities from NSP and TSEC are added to that figure, the total capacity will hit around 3GW.
(Reported by Rhea Tsao, chief editor of EnergyTrend. Translated by Janet Chen and copy-edited by Kevin Yang, translators at TrendForce Corp.)