URE lowers solar cell production in response to declining demand


Taiwanese solar cell producer United Renewable Energy (URE) is shutting down part of its manufacturing capacity in northern Taiwan, while relocating production equipment to other unspecified facilities.

In a statement to pv magazine, the company’s spokeswoman, Shelly Yen, confirmed that URE now plans to expand its focus on PERC cell production, while also specifying that it will lower its operational solar cell capacity to 2.5 GW, rather than 1.5 GW, as previously reported by Taiwanese portal DigiTimes.

“We still have production capacity of 5 GW, and no assets have been written off,” Yen said. “If the solar cell market sees an uptrend, we can increase production at any moment.”

The spokeswoman added that the company is not completely shutting down its manufacturing facility in northern Taiwan. “In fact, we are still occupying a couple of floors of that factory, and in order to utilize assets better, we are renting out part of (it),” she explained.

Yen also stressed that URE will now focus on solar project development in Taiwan and abroad. “URE is the biggest PV system developer in Taiwan, and is aggressively planning, developing, building and managing PV system projects all over the world,” she claimed.

According to DigiTimes, the company's chairman, Sam Hong, has said that the company expects to win between 500 MW and 1 GW of EPC contracts in 2019. In February, URE and independent power producer Vena Energy signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the development of 200-300 MW of PV capacity in Taiwan.

Outside of Taiwan, Yen said that URE still has a manufacturing site in Vietnam, and is working closely with a partner there to supply modules.

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Higher revenue, new products

In terms of revenue, the company registered an 89.55% year-on-year increase to NT$6,326.3 million ($201.3 million) in the first four months of this year, with turnover for April alone reaching NT$2,025.3 million.

“The significant increase in revenue was the result of higher module shipments for American projects and an increase in system-related revenue,” the company said of the company's April performance. “It demonstrated the transformation of URE's business model from solar cell manufacturing to brand module sales, and the systems business has proven effective.”

In mid-May, URE launched its new PEACH 400 W modules series, with a 1500 VDC system voltage design and large 158.75 mm × 158.75 mm wafers, as well as a new lithium-iron storage solution for residential and industrial applications that includes voltage regulation, frequency modulation, power surge protection, load shifting and peak shaving.

URE was created through the merger of Taiwanese solar manufacturers NSP, Gintech and Solartech to address calls for consolidation in the Taiwanese cell and module industry. Several other PV manufacturers in the country — including cell maker Motech Industries, wafer manufacturer Sino-American Silicon Products, and solar cell manufacturer E-Ton Solar Tech — have been forced to scale back production in recent months.

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