Around 4,000 workers on unpaid leave in solar industry

Some of the 4,000 full-time employees on furlough and the 10,000 part-time employees on reduced hours are working no more than 10 days per month on average, according to the PV Generation System Association of R.O.C. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Approximately 4,000 full-time workers in Taiwan’s solar power industry are currently on unpaid leave, while over 10,000 part-timers also have had their work hours cut, according to an industry representative on Jan. 6.

Kuo Hsuan-fu (郭軒甫), head of the PV Generation System Association of R.O.C. (PVGSA), said the cutbacks were due to a production slowdown in the industry.

Some of the 4,000 full-time employees on furlough and the 10,000 part-time employees on reduced hours are working no more than 10 days per month on average, Kuo said.

He said production at solar power companies in Taiwan had dropped from approximately 100 Mega Watts of solar cells per month to 8 MW in December 2018.

Although Kuo did not specifically attribute the production drop to tariffs, the slump has coincided with new tariffs imposed by some countries.

According to the website of the Solar Energy Industries Association in the United States, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Jan. 23 last year that placed tariffs on imported solar cells and modules for a period of four years.

Set at 30 percent, the tariffs went into effect February 7, 2018, with a 5 percent declining rate per year over the four year period, the website says.

Meanwhile, according to a Bloomberg report dated September 25, 2018, India has also imposed duties on imports of solar equipment from selected countries to last two years, in a bid to kick-start its own domestic industry.

By Chung Jung-feng and William Yen