Neo Solar Power to expand PV manufacturing to Southeast Asia

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Like all Taiwanese PV makers, Neo Solar Power (NSP) has been diversifying following the imposition of U.S. tariffs on Taiwanese cells in August 2014.

Following the tariffs, NSP intensified its activities in project development and announced plans in May to launch a yieldco on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, it had not publicly committed to expanding production overseas until yesterday.

Buried in a press release for NSP’s Q3 results the company mentioned expenses related to “South East Asia capacity relocation”. NSP says that it expects to complete the first phase of the project in January 2016, noting that once relocation is completed it can begin to expand shipment volumes to the United States.

NSP did not respond as to whether the new factory would produce cells, modules or both, but did say that it would make both multicrystalline and monocrystalline products.

As recently as June, NSP told PV-Tech that it had not yet made a decision as to whether or not it would expand overseas to South Asia or Southeast Asia, but that it might make an announcement by the end of the year.

The new announcement indicates that NSP is following the lead of fellow Taiwanese cell producer Gintech, which in May announced that it would build a PV cell factory in Thailand. Unlike Gintech, NSP has not named which nation in Southeast Asia is hosting its factory.

While still in the red, NSP reported its most positive results in the last five quarters. This includes ongoing sequential revenue growth to US$170 million and a net loss of only $11 million. The company has reported negative operating margins and net losses every quarter starting in Q4 2014, the first full quarter after U.S. duties took full effect.

The company’s Q3 press statement did not offer operating income or margin, but did note that its gross margin increased to 5% during the quarter, up from -3% during Q2. NSP attributes this to rising prices for its cells and modules, in line with analyst predictions of increased Asian demand and rising PV product prices towards the end of 2015.

Update: This article was modified on November 18 at 9:30 AM Eastern Time (United States) to include responses by Neo Solar Power.