The latest analysis from the EnergyTrend research division of TrendForce finds that Taiwan’s newly installed capacity reached historical highs in 2019, with over 36% growth YoY compared to each quarter in 2018. This growth momentum is expected to continue in the next few years as large-scale ground-mounted PV projects are underway.
According to Sharon Chen, assistant research manager at TrendForce, although newly installed capacity in 2019 continued to grow throughout the year, slow land mergers caused grid connection schedules to be postponed, subsequently stagnating new PV project developments in 2H19. As a result, shipments of module manufactures across the board failed to meet expectations, with only those manufacturers that secured large-scale project installations seeing shipment growth; all other manufacturers maintained their shipment levels. In 2018, URE was born out of a three-way merger between NSP, Gintech, and Solartech and became the shipment leader. However, in 2019 URE essentially shared its pole position with TSEC, with the combined shares between the two companies accounting for 50% of the entire market. TSEC doubled its 2018 shipment numbers in 2019 by securing a contract for large-scale project installations.
In the hypercompetitive inverter market, Delta reigned supreme as the 2019 shipment leader, whose market share reached 35%, a YoY increase from 2018 figures. Remarkably, rising star TMEIC scored a contract as the supplier for a large-scale project installation and became the dark horse of 2019. TMEIC’s continued growth in 2020 depends on whether its products will be VPC-recognized.
The coronavirus outbreak is expected to disrupt the supply of modules and inverters
According to TrendForce, the supply of key equipment such as modules and inverters will suffer the most damage from the coronavirus outbreak. Many raw materials involved in module production, namely, silicon wafers and other auxiliary materials, such as EVA, aluminum frames, and glass, are sourced from the Chinese supply chain, which is now constrained by both logistical problems and work resumption delays. Taiwanese manufacturers’ stockpile of raw materials from pre-Chinese New Year is expected to last until the end of February, at best. Whereas some manufacturers can rely on their factories in Southeast Asia for module and inverter production, manufacturers without such an option must look to other means of production and adapt to market situations accordingly.
China accounts for 80% of total inverter production capacity. As such, limitations placed on import/export of goods at major Chinese ports, some of which are operating at less than 30% normal volume, such as the Port of Shanghai, will severely diminish the supply of inverters to the Taiwanese market. At any rate, if the supply of either modules or inverters is disrupted, grid connections on the downstream PV system-end will be delayed as well; as such, 1Q20 is expected to have the lowest quarterly installation capacity in 2020. On the other hand, many projects that began installation in 2019 have April 30 as their deadline. The shortage of modules and inverters will delay the installation schedule of these projects and subsequently postpone Taiwan’s goal of 2.2GW total installation capacity in 2020. TrendForce believes that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the PV industry can best be alleviated through extending grid connection deadlines.