Sunnyfounder and AUO signed an MOU on October 6 to jointly create an electricity trading platform for private solar power plants in Taiwan. This agreement will synergize the expertise and business philosophies of the two companies. During the development of this platform, Sunnyfounder will be focusing on client services, data analysis, and platform management. Meanwhile, AUO will be responsible for building private solar power plants and ensuring the stability of the electricity supply from these generation facilities. Once in operation, the platform will help people of this island to directly participate in renewable generation. Specifically, it will widen the opportunity to benefit financially from selling renewable electricity and encourage the growth of independent power producers. End users of electricity in Taiwan will also gain from having the platform because it can provide more choices and convenience for purchasing renewable electricity.
Speaking to the media about the MOU, Edison Feng, CEO of Sunnyfounder, said the following: “The government of Taiwan has been implementing policies that promote the development of renewable energies since 2009. In the past, participants in the domestic renewable energy industry were mostly financial institutions and insurance firms. Their representation actually rose to more than 90% at one time. In contrast, the participation from private citizens has been low.”
Feng pointed to three major obstacles that impede private citizens and entities from entering the renewable energy industry as independent power producers. They are financing, land, and expertise. Solar power plants are investments that are worth millions or even tens of millions in TWD. Even if individuals and groups have that kind of capital, there is still the issue of finding a suitable location and sufficient land for constructing a solar power plant. Furthermore, many technological and technical details are involved in the installation of PV systems, and they ultimately determine the quality of electricity generated by a solar power plant.
The aforementioned hurdles are often insurmountable for private citizens and entities that are interested in building a renewable energy business. To address these and other related challenges, Sunnyfounder and AUO have teamed up to open a new chapter for the role of the public in the generation and consumption of renewable energies. The goal is to make the production and purchasing of renewable electricity the new normal for individuals and businesses in Taiwan.
The collaboration between Sunnyfounder and AUO is expected to loosen the limitations on the supply side. AUO now aims to install at least 10MWp of privately owned PV generation capacity annually in Taiwan. This, in turn, would allow around 30,000 individuals to participate in the selling and purchasing of renewable electricity. According to the joint announcement by the two companies, many private owners of PV systems are likely to become independent power producers in the future. The trend of small private power plants will therefore accelerate with the help of Sunnyfounder and AUO.
The lack of renewable electricity supply is a major constraint on both the growth of independent power producers and the growth of the retail electricity market. With this MOU, Sunnyfounder and AUO are laying the foundation for an alliance aiming wholly at the retail electricity market. Their platform will unleash the momentum for the development of the business model pertaining to independent power production. The expansion of renewable electricity supply in the retail electricity market will then stimulate demand from people and businesses. The synergy between the respective business models of corporate power plants and power plants owned by private citizens could take place on the platform that will be created by Sunnyfounder and AUO. This would allow people to be self-sufficient in electricity supply (i.e., consuming what they generate and selling the excess). In other words, a truly “public” grid system could be realize if more people become producers, marketers, and brokers of renewable electricity.
TY Lin, VP of AUO’s solar business group, said that his company has effectively integrated high-efficiency PV modules, EPC expertise, and a comprehensive O&M platform into one powerful package. He added that AUO and Sunnyfounder together will be highly effective in encouraging the public to directly participate in the renewable energy industry. People in Taiwan will therefore be empowered to produce and purchase power by themselves. Lin further noted that this alliance presents not only an immense business opportunity but also a perfect way for AUO to leverage its expertise to fulfill its corporate social responsibility. The signing of the MOU signifies AUO’s willingness to take concrete steps to support sustainable development.
(Photo credit: AUO.)