Taiwan among world’s top 10 solar markets in 2017: report

Roughly 910 MW of that cumulative target will be rooftop capacity, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA).

“If (the) 1.52GW plan is successfully implemented, Taiwan will be joining Thailand as one of the world’s 10 largest PV markets in 2017, with annual demand reaching 900MW,” said the Taipei-based research firm, which is a unit of TrendForce.

“With global PV demand being almost flat next year, Taiwan is now considered a highly prospective market for major enterprises within the supply chain.”

The unprecedented build-out will be based on the government’s determination to expand PV capacity as the island drops its reliance on nuclear generation.

Taiwan’s total installed solar capacity hit roughly 980 MW at the end of August, according to EnergyTrend data.

But with average monthly capacity additions of about 20 MW over the past year and a half, Taiwan will need to sharply ramp up the pace of installations if it hopes to hit its 2025 target, says EnergyTrend analyst Celeste Tsai, describing the challenge ahead as “enormous.”

It will have to install about 2-3GW per year from 2018 to hit 20GW by 2025, claims EnergyTrend, noting that issues related to financing and the acquisition of land — as well as grid and transmission constraints — threaten to cap Taipei’s ambitions.

“The government will have to dramatically step its efforts, as the island only increased its installed capacity by 220 MW annually on average from 2014 to 2015,” concludes Tsai.

Suppliers of high-efficiency solar panels will benefit from future build-out, as new subsidies from the Bureau of Energy — an entity under MoEA — will be more attractive for arrays that feature higher-quality modules.

Producers of highly efficient PERC technologies will benefit the most from those top-up sweeteners.

The 6% bonus granted to such projects in 2017 will give developers feed-in tariff rates (FIT) that will be on par with current FIT levels, or in some cases, even higher.

The government will offer even more attractive rates for distributed-generation projects in remote areas, EnergyTrend says, noting that such policies will significantly boost rooftop build-out through 2018.

Additionally, EnergyTrend believes that the island’s current PV module production capacity — now at roughly 1.8 GW per year — will be sufficient to meet anticipated domestic demand over that period.