Taiwan's PV cell makers have been under pressure since the expansion of U.S. duties on Chinese solar products was expanded to Taiwanese cells. Companies have reacted to this in various ways, including expanding into module production and even plans to build factories overseas.
Others have taken the well-traveled path of global solar PV manufacturers and moved downstream into PV project development. As Taiwan's PV market is relatively small, for growth this inevitably means expanding beyond Taiwan.
Leading this trend is Taiwan's largest PV maker, Neo Solar Power (NSP), which on Wednesday announced that its project development subsidiary General Energy Solutions (GES) will acquire a 30% share in Phanes Group. Taipei Times put the value of the sale at US$15 million.
GES has already built PV projects in the United States, the UK and Japan, as well as Taiwan. By acquiring a stake in Phanes, NSP estimates that it will gain access to project development rights for over 800 MW of PV projects located in Western Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company notes that 400 MW of these projects will begin construction in the next 10-12 months.
NSP says that this is the outgrowth of a strategic partnership between the two companies, and cites the combination of Phanes' expertise in project development and capital market insight with NSP's management experience and financial support.
In a brief press statement, NSP also hints at how this move is part of its larger strategy. These high quality and high IRR solar farms will also become the main revenue and profit driver for NSP Group, states the release. While NSP reported a loss in its first half 2015 results, the company expects GES to turn a healthy profit.
This may also allude to NSP's plans to form a yieldco vehicle to hold completed projects, which the company announced in May. NSP said at the time that it planned for the yield vehicle to be publicly listed by the first quarter of 2016 at the latest, but has declined to provide an update to pv magazine.
Part of the delay may be the general malaise in solar stock prices, which has included yieldcos.
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