Results of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs’ 7th Solar Power Equipment Bidding have been announced on September 12, 2012. The installed capacity of bid winners amounted to 0.8MW. After the 7th bidding, there is no capacity left for another bid, though some manufacturers are hoping more capacity from the infrastructure sector will be released in 4Q12. However, according to EnergyTrend, the green energy research division of TrendForce, the popularity of biddings in the infrastructure area remained high this year, so there will likely be no extra capacity provided in 4Q12.
According to information released, the average discount rate of the 7th bidding went up to 12.74%, a 169.34% increase compared to 6th’s 4.37%. Certain manufacturer’s discount rate has reached above 13%, showing some system integrators are willing to cut down profits in exchange for orders. Related companies noted that the most competitive bids were in the 100kW and 499kW sectors. Given the current feed-in tariff (FiT), manufacturers’ profit margin will take a serious hit. Moreover, the price setting process of 2013’s electricity price is about to start, and the sharp dip in the average discount rate may result in a drastic plummet in 2013’s solar feed-in tariffs. Related players stated that there has been different perspectives about the decrease of 2013’s solar FiT, and most people believe it is going to fall between 5% and 20%. Regardless of what the percentage decrease will be, FiT of both 100kW and 499kW will fall below NT$7/kWh. Related players pointed out that due to the fierce competition and manufacturers’ price cuts, the focus in 2013 may shift from 100kW-499kW sector to 30kW smaller-scale system sector.
Due to the gray area in the European Union’s anti-dumping investigation, Chinese solar manufacturers have seized the opportunity to digest their inventories. On the other hand, due to the absence of prominent rebound for demand, recently certain manufacturers have been disposing excess raw materials on the spot market – for instance, cell makers have been selling wafers, while wafer makers are attempting to cut down polysilicon inventory, which added more pressure to the spot prices and caused them to drop further.
Recently certain Chinese module makers have shut down their production lines. EnergyTrend notes that Chinese manufacturers’ utilization rates have been on a decline with idle capacity remaining high, suggesting that their downsizing effort, which will have limited impact on the worldwide PV market, was merely a solution to deal with the unused capacity.