Growing demand of PV power plants leads to increased investment

New Update

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: With countries successively releasing PV subsidy policies, the cumulative amount of grid-connected installations has gradually increased. Solar power plants have even become the major investment product in the eyes of international investors. According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, the oversupply issue still exists in recent solar market.


Major manufacturers choose to enter the power plant area in order to expand the market for their own-brands and to earn long-term stable Return-on-Investment (ROI). However, the increased operating time in power plants has caused many issues that would affect profit to pop up. This leaves potential risks of decreased ROI in related investments.

The research manager of EnergyTrend, Arthur Hsu, indicates that the ratio of roof-top solar systems and ground-mounted power plants from 2012 to 2016 is 6:4. Regardless of the type of installation method used, the problem mostly encountered by power plants is that module efficiency declines faster than expected. Other problems include product warranty and improper design.

For example, Satcon, a major US solar inverter manufacturer, declared bankruptcy and caused power plants that use Satcon's central inverters to stand in a difficult position when product warranty and maintenance have been suspended. These bring unknown risks to power plant investors. Although power plants can maintain operation and obtain warranty through replacing the components, investment cost may still rise and thus impact the original ROI.


Given that the investment evaluation for certain projects turned out to be relatively inaccurate, in some cases actual ROI may also be lower than expected. For example, in order to achieve higher ROI, certain investors didn't take warranty cost into consideration during the initial stage of evaluation, which led to problems when the warranty period ended being far shorter than the subsidy period.

This can bring quite a few confusions to investors. Because of this, power plant investors and those that plan to get involved in power plants pay more attention to maintenance and warranty. Thus, the market size also gradually increases.

Based on the trend, EnergyTrend is going to hold its first PVforum 2013 - Market Status and Future Development for Solar Power Plants in Asia on October 31st (Thursday) at Taipei International Convention Center.

Research mangers, Arthur Hsu and Jason Huang, will present keynote speeches regarding solar power plants and overall market prospect. We invite industry experts from related fields to exchange information regarding power plant maintenance/warranty and investment evaluation with us. Also, we welcome all the medias to come join us.


Judging from spot market's overall performance, Chinese polysilicon price remained between RMB130/kg-RMB140/kg, with average price slightly increasing. The high utilization rate for major manufacturers caused last week's average price to reach US$17.02/kg, a 0.15% rise. For wafers, the demand for multi-si wafers increased and manufacturers' utilization rate remained high. Last week's multi-si wafer price slightly rose with average price reaching $0.893/piece, a 0.79 percent rise.

As for mono-si wafers, last week's average price remained steady. For cells, since price on the normal-grade products for second/third-tier manufacturers have started to loosen and manufacturers have begun to pay more attention on inventory due to the off-peak season in the market, last week's price declined with average price reaching $0.391/watt, a 0.51 percent drop.

For modules, while the increased utilization rate led to the increased demand in high-efficiency modules in the fourth quarter, the mainstream products will turn to normal-grade modules with cheaper price in the future. Thus, manufacturers have tried hard to see if there can be better deals on the price. Last week's average price came to $0.673/watt, a 0.3 percent drop.