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Home > Market > APAC

Taiwan Solar Market: Flexible to Changes

In the emerging Asian solar market, Taiwan is attracting PV playerss attention with its flexibility to the global changes including feed-in tariff revision. Motech Industries, the largest solar cell manufacturer in Taiwan and one of the top ten manufacturers worldwide in terms of production capacity and output, shares its technological achievements and views on the solar market with InterPV Editor Sarah Jeong.

By Sarah Jeong (pved1@infothe.com)


Please introduce Motechs history briefly.
Motech Industries Inc. was founded in 1981 as a designer and manufacturer of test and measurement instruments. The company entered into solar cell production in 1999, and is a pioneer in the manufacturing and marketing of high-quality single and multicrystalline silicon solar cells in Taiwan. Today, the company is the largest solar cell manufacturer in Taiwan and one of the top ten manufacturers worldwide in terms of production capacity and output.


Could you update us on your recent technological achievements?
Motech reached many significant milestones and breakthroughs in 2009. At the end of 2009, TSMC, the worlds largest semiconductor manufacturer, invested a 20% stake in Motech and have been integral in advancing R&D and strategic management. In early 2010, Motech acquired GE Energys module business in the U.S. to form Motech Americas LLC and partnered with Itogumi in Japan to form Itogumi-Motech. In May 2010, AE Polysilicon, a subsidiary of Motech in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., successfully deposited polysilicon using Fluidized Bed Reactors (FBR) and is expected to supply for the production of approximately 250 MW per year of installed solar energy.

Motech has long been dedicated to its goals of becoming a vertically integrated solar supplier with expert-refined process controls throughout the supply chain.
Our customers and their customers can experience and recognize the value Motech offers in a wide range of solar applications from cell and module to systems.


The global trend is to cut Feed-in Tariff (FiT) though. What do you think of the current FiT revision and its effects on the solar industry?
In expectation of reduced FiTs in recent years, solar companies have been trying to increase their competitiveness by increasing product efficiency and maximizing power output, while simultaneously driving down costs. ASPs in many segments of the solar industry have fallen. The companies who have been unable to adjust fast enough to the changing policies and industry dynamics have fallen faster than expected. As we have seen, this requires solar companies to have healthy financial structures and economies of scale in order to be successful.
The sharp FiT drops have created a huge barrier of entry into solar. Participating and succeeding in the solar industry require not only substantial investment, but also thoughtful strategy to leverage solid partnerships and efficiently implement vertically integrated supply chains.


In your opinion, among a variety of sections of the solar industry, which segment needs the government? support most? What improvements can be made?
Solar energy helps the economy and the environment but has a ways to go before reaching grid parity. Governments can support the solar industry reach grid parity faster by building a solid platform for R&D, as well as providing tax-deductions and cooperative networks from various levels of industry. By helping solar technology advance faster, governments will be helping to reduce our global impact on the environment in a shorter timeline.


Please share your goal for 2010.
2010 will be a year of incredible growth for Motech. In the first quarter, weve already seen earnings quadruple as compared to the same time in 2009. With our expanding cell lines and the addition of locations in U.S. and Japan, production capacity is expected to more than double in 2010. Motechs swift growth does not come as a surprise as we have been carefully planning with intense preliminary investigation to ensure every step in vertical integration and added lines of business adds value for our customers. With vertical integration and expert process controls, Motech is able to provide customers with high performance and conversion efficiency, optimal value, and more product choices. Customers will experience industry-leading performance in all of Motechs products and services.


What will the solar industry look like in 5 years?
In addition to many feed-in tariffs ending, other industry giants will be stepping in to become involved in solar. The increased competition will speed up the race to integrate vertically and become more cost competitive. Flexible strategies will be required to adapt to the changing requirements of customers, policies and markets. Only those companies with strong, flexible financial structures and economies of scale can withstand the ups and downs of this dynamic industry.


Sarah Jeong is Editor of InterPV. Send your comments to pved1@infothe.com.


For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

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