Taiwan proposes FIT cuts, recycling fee

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Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs has released a statement regarding potential changes to the country’s FIT scheme, which is reviewed annually.

The results presented last week are subject to continued debate and review, but the government has suggested it will cease to pay a mark-up for high-efficiency modules under its Green Energy Roofs programme. Reportedly, a preliminary consensus has been agreed upon, with the final ruling expected to be announced before the end of the year.

Currently, the FIT rates for rooftop installations between 20 and 100 kW in size are NT$4.7906 (US$0.165)/kWh, while those between 100-500 kW receive NT$4.4564 (US$0.153)/kWh.

A 6% markup on this tariff is paid for certified high-efficiency modules, which is said to benefit Taiwan’s module manufacturing industry. With the markup gone, many manufacturers might find themselves in direct price competition with bigger competitors.

The statement adds that a module recycling fee of RMB 1,000 (US$ 0.15) per unit could be enforced. It did not specify what a unit was, or who would should foot the bill, however.

Falling module prices have had a profound effect on Taiwan’s upstream market. Traditionally in a strong position, Taiwanese manufacturers now see themselves in a new wave of fierce competition against Chinese manufacturers. Most recently, as Europe waved goodbye to its MIP, Chinese modules once again have a better chance on the European solar market.

Recently,  Taiwanese module manufacturer Motech Industries Inc. announced it would let go of 916 employees in January, citing “severe volatility” in the market. The company added that with its reduced workforce, it will focus on the production of high-efficiency modules for the domestic market. What the changes to the FIT scheme mean for Motech if they are realized, remains to be seen.