PV Taiwan: Hopes and strategy changes

Like most global solar tradeshows at the moment, PV Taiwan 2012 also saw a fall in exhibitor numbers. 214 exhibitors in total, 25% less than last year, are present with their products and services at the Taipei World Trade Center. The booths have gotten smaller and some leading companies like Motech and Gintech are cutting back by opting not to have their own booths.

Meanwhile, ongoing consolidation in the industry, as well as solutions and strategies for improving demand and business, have taken main focus at the show. Cooperation with mainland China, emerging markets, improving efficiencies and cost structure are also prime topics amongst show-goers.

Vice President of Marketing and Business Development from Schmid, Frank Tinnefeld, underlines an example: "Nobody can expect short term big sales now with a capacity utilization of roughly 60% in the Taiwanese cell industry."

However, optimism still lurks, as Tinnefeld explains, "We have seen very qualified interest from customers for cell efficiency upgrades and cost saving solutions," referring to the company’s TinPad. The Intersolar Award winning technology enables silver-free backside cell contacting and saves up to US$0.06 per wafer as Tinnefeld puts it. The payback period is also attractive at about half a year.

Other major European equipment manufacturers like Meyer Burger, RENA, Manz and centrotherm are also present with their solutions in Taipei. One hope for growing business and demand is seen as the intensified cooperation between Taiwan and big brother China. This theme occupied the table at the CEO panel.

SEMI Taiwan & Southeast Asia President Terry Tsao tells pv magazine that the Taiwanese industry should bethink its competitive strength in the field of advanced cell manufacturing and logistics. A smart cooperation with the Chinese sector will add strength to the polysilicon and wafer manufacturing fields as well as module production, installation and global marketing and branding according to Tsao.

Leading Taiwanese manufacturer Motech is already on this path wanting to implement this strategy soon, says the President Charles Hung from Motech’s Instruments Division. He tells pv magazine, "We changed our strategy on vertical integration and are concentrating on cell production," Hung says. For wafer sourcing, module production and marketing, Motech will be looking outside for partners and outsource.

Edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger.