Taiwans solar industry has struggled in the wake of U.S. import duties on Taiwanese cells, which were first imposed in mid-2014. All of the nations largest PV cell makers plunged into the red during Q3 2014, and remained unprofitable for several quarters thereafter.
However, today Taiwanese PV cell and module maker Neo Solar Powers (NSP) results showed that the company has definitively returned to profitability, with Q1 serving as the companys second consecutive quarter of positive results. While revenues remain below 2014 levels at US$181 million in Q1 sales, NSP reports a 2.7% operating margin and $3.3 million in net income.
The companys revenues are still 28% higher than the first quarter of 2015, and NSP credits stable selling prices and increased module shipments for the improvement. NSP first reported a return to profitability during Q4, with $4.3 million in net income.
NSP has made a number of moves to adapt to the new environment in the wake of U.S. duties, including building up module capacity, expanding into downstream project development, and more recently moving PV cell lines to Malaysia and China.
The company alluded to moving PV cell capacity in its Q1 results, with an oblique statement that the relocation capacity is expected to join into production line no later than the end of third quarter. NSP also notes that it raised $88 million in April through a follow-on offering, which it says will support its project development partnerships.
In terms of current market conditions, NSP states that the Chinese market has been slow, as orders decline in advance of feed-in tariff reductions planned for the end of June. However, it also describes the cyclical supply chain adjustment as rather mild compared with previous years.
NSP states that it will continue to diversify both its end-markets and its manufacturing locations to maintain flexibility. This could be seen as a reference to the damage caused by U.S. duties, from which the company may have finally recovered.