Taiwan's TSEC to increase cell capacity to 1.3 GW by end of 2016

Taiwan Solar Energy Corp. (TSEC) has begun ramping up capacity at its crystalline silicon solar cell production facility in order to meet an expected upturn in domestic demand, the company said.

TSEC confirmed in October last year its intention to ramp capacity at its fab, and has now taken the first steps towards reaching its target of 1.3 GW of capacity by the end of the year. Already this year the production facility’s capability has grown by 120 MWp, and a further 120 MWp of capacity will be added between March and May.

By the beginning of June, a further 350 MWp of capacity is expected to come online, confirmed TSEC’s head of marketing, William Liao, to pv magazine. "TSEC began the year with 800 MW of solar cell capacity, and plant to be at 1.3 GW by the end of 2016. By mid-2017, we shall have 1.8 GW capacity in total," he said.

Funding for this planned expansion is expected to be derived from the issuance of new shares, company chairman Ellick Liao told Digi Times in Taipei. This will increase paid-in capital by between $35-$44 million, with TSEC also planning to set up PV module production at a volume of 200 to 300 MW this year.

Taiwan’s solar PV sector is set to be buoyed by the outcome of the recent Paris Agreement at COP21 last December, with the country setting a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2030 based on 2005, and Liao is confident that the country can grow by as much as 2 GW of new solar PV capacity a year by 2025 to reach a cumulative base of 20 GW by that date. However, the official solar PV goal is 8.7 GW by 2030, according to the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

With solar now cheaper than natural gas in Taiwan, there are few hurdles standing in the way of wider adoption. Even in a nation as land-scarce as Taiwan, Liao believes that the estimated 167,000 hectares of idle farmland could be used as locations for ground-mounted solar plants.

Taiwan currently has 728 MW of cumulative solar PV capacity installed, according to MOEA data.