Taiwan eyes Brazil solar market

Taiwanese solar photovoltaic components manufacturers are starting to look at Brazil as a possible market as Brazil moves forward with plans to hold a solar power auction this year.

“We know there is a lot of potential for solar power here, but we need to know what will be the government's subsidy policy for the sector,” says Alfredo Shu Chih-Hong, economic secretary at the Taiwanese embassy in Brazil.

The Taiwanese government will send a trade mission in late August or early September to Brazil to pin down market opportunities. It will include solar equipment companies and those in the semiconductor sector.

Chih-Hong was present here at the opening of the Taiwan Excellence trade show which is being promoted by the Taipei's foreign trade development council, Taitra.

Taitra's director Kirst Yi Bin Yen says that Taiwan also is looking at importing more raw materials from Brazil. “Renewable energy has a lot of potential,” he says.

Chich-Hong says both governments are in talks for opening a semiconductor facility in Brazil, which could include the production of wafers locally. He said he Taiwanese officials have held talks with the Brazilian industry and science ministries and with the Brazilian association of electrical and electronic manufacturers (Abinee) about the issue.

“We need to work a good proposal and what Taiwanese companies want to see are clear stable rules for investing in the country,” he adds.

Brazil has few local solar panel assemblers. It imports solar cells despite having one of the biggest silicon deposits in the world.

The solar power auction, scheduled for 10 October, is seen by market players and the government as a positive signal for investors in the sector. Brazilian government officials have said that Brazil should have 2GW of solar PV installed capacity by 2019 as result of regular auctions, up from around 10MW.