October 26, 2007 (Digitimes) – Taiwan’s Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA) has pledged its commitment to helping local photovoltaic (PV) industry players enjoy a better, or easier, business environment. The government organization recently held discussions with top representatives from PV companies in Taiwan and received positive feedback. The Taiwan government expressed its dedication to taking all raised concerns into account and pledged to look for appropriate measures to solve present barriers.Steve Chen, a minister for the MOEA, held a forum with fellow key PV industry players from Taiwan on October 25.
During the forum, KS Lin, CEO of Neo Solar Power, expressed his opinion that the Taiwan government should play the role of bridge between local PV companies and international players, to help them gain exposure. It is crucial to avoid the risk that PV companies in Taiwan act only as OEM producers, and eventually suffer from poor profits, he remarked. Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) president Johnsee Lee echoed the comments highlighting the importance of added-value. A proper industry goal should not only focus on production value, or else industry players will only strive to boost their shipments, he added.
Professor HL Huang from the National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan pushed local government to take a more aggressive stance on PV industry deployment, citing the huge gap between the top-two players worldwide. With sufficient backup from the Industrial Bureau, he believes that Taiwan could have a smooth deployment into the PV equipment sector with a powerful influence on cost structure.
Lucky Power Technology pointed out the importance of importing solar cells from China. Company CEO BL Huang noted that Taiwan players are forbidden to source solar cells from China, while the China government also bans the exportation of solar wafers to Taiwan. Such government policies are unfavorable to solar module makers. Some attendants added in saying that they are not even allowed to import scrap wafers to ease material shortages as they do not have the necessary scrap materials management licenses.
Taxation policy also plays a critical role in material procurement. Gintech Energy pointed out that a tariff is required for materials importation, but not for end products, which the company finds a very odd policy.
While some companies were raising concerns about material importation, E-ton Solar Tech general manager Chin-Yao Tsai, on the other hand, stressed the importance of growing domestic demand for PV systems. Regulating government agencies to install a certain amount of PV systems, and offering incentives for installing PV systems, are some of the measures that he believes could help encourage domestic demand.
The result of the 2.5-hour long discussion was positive. Chen from the MOEA noted that he would instruct all corresponding government agencies to solve the mentioned issues and concerns raised during the meeting. He added in saying that he would make a proposal to the Bureau of Foreign Trade regarding the possibility of special allowances on materials importation. However, regarding the suggestions to boost the domestic installation of PV systems, he said the government may need some time to hold discussions with construction companies.