Taiwan’s Solar Boost
Whether you consider Taiwan to be a self-governing independent stateor a renegade province of Mainland China depends on your politics, butone thing is for certain: It’s a key player in the manufacture of solarcells globally.
It’s so important, in fact, that LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE:LDK), China’s largest maker of solar-grade crystalline silicon wafer, hasstanding supply contracts with several Taiwanese solar cell producers(although Taiwan’s Mosel Vitelic recently severed ties with LDKfollowing a contract dispute).
For their part, Taiwan-based solar cell makers, Motech Industries andGintech EnergyCorporation (TPE:3514), theisland’s top two solar-cell makers, have seen sales soar amid risingglobal demand. Roughly 70 Taiwanese companies are involved in the solarindustry, producing solar cells with a combined capacity of 2 gigawattsin 2009—analysts expect more than 3 gigawatts this year.
Taiwan is a significant exporter of crystalline silicon solar cells;China and Taiwan jointly control about 40% of the world’s wafer-thin photovoltaic solar market. As Taiwan has become a manufacturing powerhouse, it continues to see harmful greenhouse gasemissions rise even as the EU’s emission levels have fallen during theeconomic downturn. But officials in Taipei have moved to tackle the problem.
Subsidies under the government’s green energy plan has spawned adomestic solar push, placing Taiwan among the world’s leading users ofsolar water heaters.
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