Rising revenues and sustainable governance
Year 2018 saw a slump in the solar energy industry affected by China-US trade wars, solar energy policy changes in various countries, declining market demands and reduced prices and production outputs. All solar energy companies were faced with severe operation challenges. Yet, with concerted efforts form all staff members, SAS was able to hit another record high in terms of revenue and turn losses into profits and regain its profitability that has exceeded its competitors, as a result of production capacity adjustment, resources integration, product differentiation, continuous strategy adjustments in response to the market, plus outstanding business performance of its subsidiary, GlobalWafers.
1. Consolidated revenue of NT$ 69.239 billion and annual growth rate of 17%, another record high
2. Consolidated operating income of NT$ 13.178 billion and annual growth rate of 108%
3. EPS of NT$3.36, an increase of NT$1.56 from the previous year of NT$1.8
4. Shareholders’ equity of NT$ 47.914 billion, a 9% increase from the previous year.
5. Ranking in the top 5% of all TPEx-listed companies in five consecutive corporate governance appraisals
SAS has a leading competitive edge in the field of PERC mono-crystal cell efficiency and will continue to develop advanced technologies and accelerate research and development of new-generation products with ultra-high efficiency. We aim to establish mutually beneficial cooperative relationships with our customers to build a win-win environment conducive to joint growth. Regarding corporate governance, we constantly refine our performance to strengthen our commitment to the pursuit of sustainable operations.
Forward-looking and Industry-leading Technologies
The SAS R&D team is fully committed to the development of high-efficiency products with high added value. In 2018, the multi crystalline silicon wafer process was converted from Slurry to DW to enhance productivity and minimize environmental pollution. N-type mono crystalline cells are expected to reach 23% in efficiency by mid-2019. The P-type mono crystalline cells have reached 21.9% in average efficiency. As for the development of new products, Multi Crystalline Black Wafers, New-generation Mono Crystalline Busbar-less and Metal-Wrap-Through PERC have successfully entered mass production. In addition, SAS has also been active in promoting deployment of patents for key technologies and accelerated development of the company’s core technologies. A total of 267 patent certifications have been obtained worldwide. SAS will continue to accumulate R&D capabilities with a focus on development of advanced technologies and high-performance diversified products. The company’s overall competitiveness is enhanced through value-added innovation and optimized product combinations.
Circular Economy & Facilitating Green Energy and low carbon
The Global Risks Report 2019 released at the World Economic Forum in Davos pointed out that future extreme weather incidents, failed partnerships responding to climate change and natural disasters will be of high risks and high occurrence probabilities with major impact. In the face of rising risks of global climate problems occurrence, SAS as a global citizen and a member of the green industry will spare no efforts in continuously promulgating greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation actions.
Excellent results have been achieved through recent participation in the Energy Conservation Improvement Project sponsored by the Industrial Development Bureau. Results include the improvements of air compressors and air conditioning systems. In 2018, power savings amounted to 2,764,000 kWh. Further still, with regards to solar energy plant deployment, SAS’ subsidiary, FZtech Inc., is fully committed to the Taiwan market and actively conducting solar energy plants investments and construction projects for the rooftop, ground-mounted and floating solar power plants, while introducing the gravitation water vortex solar power generation system to lower the water surface temperature and drastically enhance the power generation efficiency of the solar energy panel. In 2018, in our solar energy generation system, the total installation for grid-tie operation reached approx. 26MW, expected to reduce the CO2 emission by 9,890 metric tons per year. Up to end of 2018, the offshore and domestic installation for grid-tie operation reached approx. 97MW, expected to cut the CO2 emission by 66,685 metric tons per year.
In 2019, SAS teams up with its subsidiary, FZtech Inc., in the construction of compound energy system on the rooftops of the Chunan Plant that integrates the 99kW self-weight photovoltaic solar system, 100 kW/350 kWh power storage system, 600 kW adjustable grid-tie power generators. SAS has also switched to micro-grid systems inside the plant. The subsystem installations are expected to be completed by Q2 this year, while simultaneously blending the energy storage device development and integrating it to the energy management system platform in response to the future market demand for power storage management. Our subsidiary semiconductor company, GlobalWafers, passed the gold-level green building certification in January 2019 issued by the Ministry of the Interior, MOEA. Looking to the future, SAS will continue to participate proactively in the green energy promotion hoping to contribute to a clean environment that our future generations can rely on for sustainable survival.
Employee Care and Public Cause
SAS has made a long-term commitment to promote business integrity policies to form a corporate culture characterized by ethical corporate management. The company also strengthens information disclosure transparency and has been ranked in the top 5% of all TPEx-listed companies in four consecutive corporate governance appraisals. The company aims to demonstrate its determination to pursue sustainable corporate operations.
- Three of thirteen board members are independent directors.
- Three of thirteen board members are female directors (one female director stepped down before the mid-year board election).
- The Audit and Remuneration Committees are solely comprised of independent directors.
- The organizational charter of each committee is publicly disclosed on the corporate website.
- Results of annual self-performance appraisals conducted by the board are publicly disclosed on the corporate website.
- Results of annual self-performance appraisals conducted by the audit and remuneration committees are publicly disclosed on the corporate website.
The SAS board of directors is comprised of 13 directors with profound knowledge in their areas of expertise.
They are elected for a term of three years and possess professional skills and expertise in the areas of professional technology, business management, legal and financial affairs, and strategy management. Board members receive 6 hours of advanced training per year to enhance their professional competence and legal literacy. Important motions are submitted to the Audit Committee for preliminary review and discussion prior to resolution by the board. Board resolutions are made public on the corporate website to enhance information transparency and safeguard shareholder rights and interests.
Pursuant to the regulations set forth in Article 192-1 of the Company Act, a candidate nomination system has been adopted for SAS board (including independent directors) elections. Shareholders elect the directors from among the nominees listed in the roster of director candidates. A total of 9 board meetings were held in 2017 with an average attendance rate of 91%.
Current state and development trends of
the solar energy industry
The solar power industry is the industry with the largest growth potential in the 21st century. Following the gradual depletion of non-renewable resources such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas reserves, traditional energy sources will face irreversible changes. Renewable energy, solar energy in particular, will become the key element in the energy structure. Regarding renewable energy, the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, has executed measures centered on photovoltaic and wind power generation. The goal is to reach a 20% renewable energy ratio by 2025. The “2-Year Photovoltaic Promotion Program” approved by the Executive Yuan in October 2016 is expected to generate an installed solar power capacity of 1.52GW (1,520MW) by June 2018. This program aims to build on the fundamentals via its short-term goal and carry out root-tackling measures and optimize the environment via mid- and long-term goals. Installation goals for the roof-top and ground-mounted types. The roof-top type is aimed to include rooftops on central government-owned lands, in private factories, agricultural facilities and others. The ground-mounted type is aimed to include salt industry land, severe land subsidence areas, water bodies and landfills.
To this end, high-quality wafers are required to support the development of Taiwan’s solar energy industry, and continuous enhancement of solar cell conversion efficiency has to be in place so as to reduce costs per watt and increase Taiwan’s international competitiveness.
Continued innovation and development of
cutting-edge products and technologies
SAS has many years’ expensive experience in solar crystal growth and its high-efficiency multi-crystalline products are leading the industry and unrivaled worldwide. The company also possesses powerful R&D capabilities in thermal field simulation and design. The A3+ wafer launched in 2011 has since leaped onto the world stage. In September 2012, its Aegis wafer was honored with the Silicon Innovation Award, the most prestigious international award in the solar energy industry. The company earned the world’s first patent for high-efficiency wafer technology (patent number: I452185) in September 2014. The A5+ wafer with its world-leading conversion efficiency went into mass production in late 2014. In 2017, the patented crystal growth technology was awarded with the 2016 National Innovation Silver Award by the Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs. The company is capable of continuous development of high-quality multi-crystalline solar products.
In line with the latest market developments, the adoption of diamond cutting processes for the cutting of solar wafers marks a critical change in the solar energy industry in 2017. SAS started adopting this technology in the fourth quarter of 2017. It has completed 51% conversion in all processes by end of 2017 and 100% conversion by 2018. Diamond cutting processes do not require any oil cutting and therefore help decrease raw material consumption, reduce air pollution, waste generation and transportation-based environmental impact.
The SAS R&D investment are reflected in the number of patent applications. In an 2013 analysis and survey conducted by the Science & Technology Law Institute, alongside Ocean Tomo, an authority in intellectual property, on IPR management and achievements of TWSE/ TPEx-listed companies in Taiwan, SAS was ranked among the “top 50 Taiwanese listed enterprises regarding its US patent value”. This achievement indicates that SAS has become a benchmark enterprise with high-value patents. The company earned a total of 267 patents in 2018.
As a member of the green energy industry, SAS is firmly committed to legal compliance, air pollution control, and waste water treatment. In addition, the company implements GHG reduction and adaptation actions in response to global climate change. The company also actively embrace circular economy concepts and ensure optimal use of resources through reduction, reuse, and recycling to balance economic development and environmental protection. In addition to the aforementioned three Rs, SAS has also been giving focus to the fourth R (Redesign) hoping to implement improvements at the source and thereby achieve reduction, reuse, recycling, and sustainability through product/process design planning.