TSEC, which is a major Taiwan-based manufacturer of PV products, announced that it will be investing NT$700 million to set up a production line for large-size PV cells at its manufacturing base in Hsinchu. Building up the production capacity for large-size PV cells will enhance TSEC’s competitiveness, as the company is banking on the continuing demand growth in the domestic and overseas markets. Once the new production line is up and running, Taiwan’s solar sector will be able to offer next-generation PV cells based on wafers sized 10 to 12 inches.
InvestTaiwan stated on December 24 that it has approved plans by TSEC, Converter Technology, and Goang Hann to expand their operations on the island. InvestTaiwan is an inter-ministerial organization established by the government of Taiwan to attract foreign investments and encourage domestic enterprises to keep their capital within the island. Together, the three companies will be committing nearly NT$2.3 billion.
As countries around the world have become more active in the adoption of renewable energies and the reduction of greenhouse gases, the government of Taiwan has been vigorously implementing policies that align with this global trend. At the same time, many Taiwan-based manufacturing companies have repatriated their capital and move their production lines back home due to the recent geopolitical instabilities. Their activities are expected to significantly increase the domestic energy demand and thereby create opportunities for the domestic solar sector.
The government has launched “Three Major Plans to Invest in Taiwan” to promote, coordinate, and review major private-sector investment projects. According to government sources, this program has helped attract around NT$1.1634 trillion in capital from 760 companies. Also, 94 domestic companies will be repatriating a total of NT$174.8 billion, and their investments will generate an estimated 13,704 new jobs. The capital repatriation plans of another 34 domestic companies are currently under review.
TSEC has reported that its existing production lines for PV cells and modules are operating at full capacity. The company has also expressed a bullish outlook on the solar market. By setting up a new production line for large-size PV cells and importing equipment automation technologies, TSEC hopes to capture more opportunities to work with the global brand names in the solar industry with respect to the development of customized products. Moreover, the new production line will help fill the capacity gap for high-efficiency modules. In terms of economic benefits, TSEC estimates that its capacity expansion for next-generation PV cells will immediately create 156 new jobs.
TSEC’s investment plan also signals that the manufacturing of PV cells in Taiwan is starting to advance from 6- to 8-inch wafers to 10- to 12-inch wafers. Building a new production line in Hsinchu will be the first major step in the migration of the entire domestic cell manufacturing to large-size wafers. This process is expected to take three years to complete. TSEC has stated that it intends to acquire at least 1GW of production capacity for large-size cells over the next three years, and thousands of new jobs will be created with this investment over the long run.
TSEC also revealed in November that it has arranged a syndicated loan of NT$2 billion for expanding its business operations. Looking at the progress so far, the company has finished adding a new production line for high-end PV modules. With an annual production capacity of 400MW, the new module production line is scheduled to begin trial operation at the end of this year and mass production in January next year. All in all, TSEC has raised its annual total production capacity for PV modules from 500MW to 900MW. The new models of its modules can attain an output of 360W, compared with 330W of the previous models. This improvement can help clients reduce their generation cost by 7-8%.
Regarding its schedule for the development of the next-generation PV cells, product testing will take place next February, followed by trial production next April and mass production next May.
(Photo credit: TSEC.)