Restrictions for solar on agricultural land may slow PV growth in Taiwan

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Taiwanese market research company TrendForce has said only 410 MW of solar capacity was added in the first five months of the year in the country, for an average monthly figure of only 82 MW of new solar. By comparison, an average of 130 MW of solar was added each month last year, for a total 1.6 GW as the nation reached a cumulative 3.7 GW.

TrendForce stated: “The current progress of downstream PV system installation in Taiwan is considerably lagging behind the 2.2 GW yearly-installed-PV-capacity targeted by the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2020. For Taiwan to reach the yearly target, an additional 250 MW of PV capacity must be installed per month, on average, from June to December. This amount is highly unlikely to be feasible.”

TrendForce said new restrictions on solar park development on agricultural land, introduced by the Council of Agriculture this month, could further slow the large scale segment of the PV market. Under the new regime, projects covering more than 2ha must be approved by the council rather than local government entities. “The legislative changes made by the Council of Agriculture are now substantially more stringent on PV projects than [in] the past,” said TrendForce.

Module shipments

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The market research company reported PV module shipments in Taiwan totaled around 1 GW in the first half. The analysts said the figures included significant shipments deferred last year and carried over into the first half of 2020. “In addition, module manufacturers were asked to deliver advance shipments in 1H20 in order for certain large scale PV projects to make their 2H20 grid-connection deadlines,” TrendForce added.

The Taiwanese module market is dominated by the three largest domestic panel makers, according to TrendForce: URE, AUO and Tsec. “Also worth noting, is that Motech entered the top five list for the first time, likely because it was able to capture large scale PV project orders from project developers,” added the analyst.

U.K.-based market research firm GlobalData has estimated Taiwan will add 20 GW of solar over the next six years, with 17 GW of ground-mounted projects and rooftop installations making up the balance.