Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Solar energy stocks got a boost Thursday morning on hopes that global demand will increase this year, while product prices have shown signs of rebounding, prompting investors to buy into these stocks, dealers said.
Hopes about higher demand were raised by a research report forecasting that worldwide solar equipment installation in 2015 will increase almost 20 percent from a year earlier, the dealers said.
As of 11:05 a.m., shares of Solartech Energy Corp. (昇陽) had risen 5.28 percent to NT$19.95 (US$0.64) and shares of Danen Technology Corp. (達能) had added 4.75 percent to NT$9.27. Shares of Green Energy Technology Inc. (綠能) had gained 10 percent, the maximum daily increase, to NT$16.70.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange was up 0.22 percent at 9,395.83 points.
"As the broader market has fallen into consolidation mode with many large-cap stocks slowing, investors tended to target smaller stocks that have positive leads," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said. "Today, solar energy stocks have come under the market spotlight."
In a research report released by Taipei-based market information advisory firm TrendForce Corp., solar energy equipment installation for 2015 is expected to hit 52GW, up 18 percent from a year earlier.
In the first quarter of this year, solar energy equipment installation topped 12GW, accounting for about 23 percent of the estimated total for 2015, TrendForce said. China had the largest demand for the January-March period after installing 5.04GW in solar energy equipment, a quarterly record high for the mainland market.
Japan came in second with 1.95GW in solar energy equipment in the first quarter, although the Japanese government has slashed subsidies on solar energy equipment purchases. The figure shows that demand in Japan remains strong, TrendForce said.
The United States ranked as the third-largest solar energy equipment buyer in the world, with purchases of 1.3GW in the first quarter. It was the first time the U.S. had installed more solar energy equipment than traditional power generation equipment, the report said.
"To my knowledge, prices of multi-silicon wafers for solar energy equipment production use are on the road to recovery. That's why many bargain hunters have been rushing to pick up these stocks soon after the local bourse opened and investors were keen to take advantage of their relatively low valuations after recent sell-offs," Su said.
Solartech is one of the beneficiaries of recovering product prices. In June, Solartech posted NT$980 million in consolidated sales, up 38.56 percent from a month earlier and also up 18.3 percent from a year earlier.
Danen witnessed its sales rebounding in June, when its consolidated sales rose 2.14 percent from a month earlier to NT$123 million, while the June figure fell 27.6 percent from a year earlier. The company said that sales growth momentum will accelerate from month to month in the third quarter due to higher product prices.
Green Energy has signed an agreement in which Eversol Corp. (旭晶) will serve as a contract manufacturer of multi-silicon wafers for Green Energy. Market analysts said that the cooperation is expected to help Green Energy secure more capacity of multi-silicon wafers to meet rising global demand.