Corporate Responsibility Practice
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.