Last week we reported that Samsung was withdrawing from the crystalline solar market, a market to which it had previously pledged billions of dollars of investment.
This week we’ve learned that Hyundai Heavy Industries, another Korean giant with photovoltaic aspirations, is calling it quits, according to an article in the Korea Times.
And we’ve heard rumors that Korea’s LG is also restructuring its solar business.
Greentech Media has long viewed Samsung and the Korean industrial machine as a force to be reckoned with in greentech and solar.
But the downturn in the solar market might be proving too much for even the Korean giants to bear. At least in crystalline silicon.
The report in the Korea Times quoted an unnamed Samsung official as saying, “The solar-cell market is reeling from continued oversupply amid aggressive expansion by Chinese cell manufacturers.” The official continued, “We are evaluating the business on a ‘zero-base.’”
Hyundai is “scrapping plans to build two solar photovoltaic power plants roughly valued at $700 million in Arizona,” according to company officials. “The market demand is way below expectations. The feasibility is lost,” according to a source quoted in the article. Hyundai had about 500 megawatts of production capacity in Korea.
Hyundai is looking to sell off its hundreds of millions of dollars of crystalline silicon production equipment from factories which had very low utilization rates.
Greentech Media spoke with Samsung executives last year and they expressed an interest in dominating solar everywhere from silicon to thin film to inverters. Last year, Samsung said it would invest approximately $20.6 billion and boost employment by around 45,000 as part of its expansion into solar, energy efficiency, light-emitting diodes and other green markets. Samsung had said it wanted to be number one in solar by 2015. Samsung also said it would invest around $6.6 billion into solar and wind projects into Ontario.