PV Taiwan draws leading domestic manufacturers, international players

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou opened PV Taiwan on Wednesday, reiterating the country’s support for green technology industries such as solar PV manufacturing before touring the event.

This year’s expo hosted many of the biggest players in solar PV manufacturing and installation from Taiwan and around the world. Among the major manufacturers in attendance were Taiwan’s largest solar cell maker Neo Solar Power Corporation (NSP) as well as TSEC, which celebrated its recent IPO by hosting President Ma for a brief visit. Winaico, Gigasolar, AUOptronics and Big Sun Energy Technology Inc. all hosted prominent booths, along with smaller players like Power Master Technology Corp. and a host of others.

Foreign players were mostly represented by equipment, component and materials makers, including Chinese poly and wafer maker GLC-Poly Energy Holdings Limited, German equipment makers Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG and Von Ardenne GmbH, and solar paste and other materials maker Heraeus Taiwan, a subsidiary of the German technology giant.

Taiwan’s solar manufacturing encompasses a wide range of the solar supply chain, and major sectors such as PV Materials & Silicon Wafers and Ingots; Solar Cells and PV Modules; HCPV / DSSC Processing Equipment; and Storage Batteries and Systems are all being represented at the show.

PV Taiwan 2015 also features a number of forums, including the Executive Summit, Advanced Technology Symposium, and Market Deployment Forum.

In a departure from recent tradition, instead of being a standalone show, PV Taiwan 2015 is being held in conjunction with the Taiwan International Green Industry show and Laser Taiwan 2015. Further, rather than being held at the downtown convention center, the expo was moved to the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Hall on the outskirts of Taipei City.

The moves were not welcomed by many in attendance. Josef Haase, senior vice president for Centrotherm, said the Nangang expo hall is too far away and isolated from downtown Taipei. Others noted that in the cavernous expanse of the much bigger Nangang facility, PV Taiwan 2015 felt empty; the combined three-in-one expo barely filled two thirds of the available space.

The smaller size of this year’s PV Taiwan wasn’t simply a perception, however, as the number of companies and number of booths both fell compared with last year. 2014’s expo featured 150 companies displaying at 435 booths, compared to this year’s 126 companies showcasing in 365 booths.

Two of Taiwan’s biggest players, Motech and Gintech, remain conspicuously absent, although Gintung Energy Corp., a joint venture between Gintech and local electronics firm Tatung, does have a booth.

As orders for Taiwan’s solar products remain strong throughout the third quarter and with corporate share prices rising, Taiwan’s solar manufacturers are enjoying a positive year, so the smaller size of the expo brought some confusion. Several corporate reps expressed the idea that Taiwan’s uncertain policies on domestic installation have reduced enthusiasm for the solar industry on the island. Taiwan’s government ramped up its installation goals from 220 MW at the beginning of the year to 500 MW, but at the same time news reports indicate that solar FiTs are going to be reduced an estimated 10%.

Talk around the expo also focused on the seven firms that are being investigated by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in cooperation with European authorities for fraudulent labeling of solar products. The seven firms, which so far remain unidentified, are accused of shipping solar panels made from solar cells fraudulently labelled as having been produced in Taiwan or Malaysia but which were actually produced in China.

Energytrend, a subsidiary of technology analytics firm Trendforce, estimates that Taiwan shipped some 10 GW of solar cells, making it one of the largest producing nations of solar in the world.