Chinese and Taiwanese solar makers offshoring production

CHINESE and Taiwanese solar manufacturers are moving production offshore in response to US anti-dumping and countervailing duties ruling against them.

CHINESE and Taiwanese solar manufacturers are moving production offshore in response to the US anti-dumping and countervailing duties ruling against them.

According to EnergyTrend, a subsidiary of TrendForce, the past two years have seen manufacturers responding to trade disputes with the US by moving production to countries like Turkey, Japan, Korea, India and Poland, in an attempt to sidestep trade barriers and unfavourable taxation rates.

For example, CSUN has set up factories in Turkey. ReneSola, another Chinese solar firm, is using OEM models in Japan, Korea, India and Poland. The anti-dumping rulings have prompted JinkoSolar to build its 100-120MW modules in South Africa. Yingli Solar and Suntech Power may also increase production capacity overseas.

Taiwanese solar makers are making similar moves. Tainergy Tech has established cell and module production lines in Vietnam. Solartech Energy has built a solar cell production line in Malaysia. Other vendors plan for upstream manufacturers to build module production lines in Thailand. Cell manufacturers also have plans to develop solar cell or module capacity in the Americas in the 100-200MW range.

Of course, these Chinese and Taiwanese vendors are facing other challenges as they continue to offshore their manufacturing capabilities, having to deal with weaker economic conditions and an increase in local labour costs.

Cells produced by Korean and Malaysian manufacturers, who have not been hit by the US anti-dumping and countervailing duties, are currently priced at US $0.40-$0.42, about 20.5% higher than those made by Taiwan firms. That allows Taiwanese firms to negotiate with customers, although they have limited access to export markets. By setting up factories in close proximity to export markets, they can overcome that limitation.