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Taiwan solar revenues reach $1.1B in 1H 08

Posted: 23 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Taiwan solar market? solar cell? silicon wafer?

Taiwan solar cell revenues climbed by nearly 70 percent in 1H 08, compared to the same period a year ago, due to strong demand from European countries including Spain and Germany, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

Six of the solar cell makers listed on Taiwan's stock exchange reported 1H 08 revenues of NT$35.6 billion ($1.1 billion) compared with NT$21 billion in the same period a year ago. These companies include Motech Industrial Inc., Gintech Energy Corp., E-Ton Solar Tech, Sino-American Silicon Products Inc., Sinonar Corp. and Green Energy Technology. Motech, Gintech and E-Ton are among the world's 10 largest solar cell makers by revenues.

Demand for solar cells and other sources of alternative energy has taken off after prices of oil soared the past 12 months, which has driven governments in Europe and Japan to subsidize the installation of solar energy facilities. This growing demand also has helped to boost average selling prices (ASPs), according to analysts who cover the companies. "There has been an increase in ASPs due to supply constraints and strong demand from Spain," said Daiwa Securities analyst Pranab Kumar Sarmah, in a statement. "There has also been a strong output ramp for a few new entrants such as Gintech."

Analysts also say that solar cell manufacturers have been the best performing segment this year in Taiwan's high-technology industry, which includes companies making everything from semiconductors, flat-panel displays, computers, mobile phones and digital music players. As a result of the strong outlook, the industry is attracting more investment and manufacturers in Taiwan's solar cell business.

For example, Green Energy Technology, which makes silicon wafers that are used as a basic material in solar cells, announced on Sept. 1 it won annual orders worth $58.77 million to supply thin-film solar modules to Germany and Spain next year. The company is also cooperating with Applied Materials in the U.S. to develop a new 8.5 generation thin-film solar production line in Taoyuan that can produce large 2.2m x 2.6m thin-film modules with a power output of 343 W per unit.

Applied Materials broke ground in July to expand its Taiwan Manufacturing Center to meet demand for flat-panel display and solar cell manufacturing equipment. The company estimated the investment to be worth about $17 million.

- Gina Roos
Green SupplyLine

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