Severe PV power market has taken another toll, as E-ton Solar of Taiwan announced on April 22 decision to suspend PV-cell production and sell its plant.
The company attributed its plight to plunge in PV-cell prices in 2018, mainly due to the effect of adverse factors on the global PV power market since 2012, including Sections 201 and 301 of the U.S., China's 531 new policy, India's defensive tariff, and expiration of MIPs (minimum import prices) in the European Union, destabilizing the operation of PV firms throughout the supply chain.
Another major factor is strong competition from China-made PV cells, which are able to undercut Taiwan-made products, thanks to government support and massive production scale. Consequently, E-ton's capacity utilization rate plunged to 51.52% in 2018, a far cry from 2016's 85% and 2017's 90%, boosting production cost to a level higher than prices. During 2011-2018, the company suffered accumulated loss of NT$13.694 billion, in sharp contrast to its heyday in 2006 when its stock price topped NT$1,000.
The company's shares have been delisted since April 22. It will auction its 800 MW PV-cell plant, as well as two other idled plants.
The company's future is pending the decision of its parent firm Inventec.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Intel Free Press via Flickr CC BY 2.0)