New Ground for Competition: Large Businesses Go Head-to-head in Solar Light, Smart Grid Markets | BusinessKorea

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hanwha SolarOne solar panels installed on the roof of a farm building in France.
Hanwha SolarOne solar panels installed on the roof of a farm building in France.
29 July 2014 - 3:20pm

The current top ten asset companies are entering various energy markets including solar light, secondary cells, smart grids, and fuel cells.

These groups all point out that energy will be a growth driver in the future. If these companies continue to focus on promoting energy sources that are being invested in at present, “energy wars” among companies are expected in various fields.

In the solar light business, Hanwha is speeding up overseas expansions through vertical integration while Samsung is enhancing its market presence by winning big global businesses.

Hanwha has vertically integrated its subsidiaries along the lines of solar panel production. Hanwha Chemical produces polysilicon; Hanwha SolarOne makes ingots and wafers; and Hanwha Q Cells and Hanwha SolarOne both make solar cells, modules, and power generators. Based on its integrated strength, Hanwha is trying to penetrate emerging markets including Southeast Asia and other overseas markets such as Japan and Europe.

As Samsung C&T is working on the Ontario Project, the biggest wind power and solar light complex development business, Samsung is strengthening its market presence. Recently, Samsung C&T Canada Branch has concluded a PF agreement with a local investor as a part of the second phase of the Ontario Project, and joined the Kingston Solar Project, the biggest new and reusable energy business in North America.

Samsung, LG, and GS are competing in the secondary battery field, too. Samsung Fine Chemicals is focusing on secondary cell businesses, tooling up plants in Ulsan to manufacture the cathode materials of secondary battery cells starting from this coming August. LG Chemicals is planning to expand its automobile secondary cell manufacturing facility in China. This would be the biggest Korea-China project of the LG Group since LG Display built its factory in Guangzhou.

Most players are also trying to enter the smart grid industry. Samsung developed and released a Smart Building Energy Management System through Samsung SDS and Samsung C&T. Samsung Electronics is currently promoting the smart grid business as a smart home solution to control home appliances with smartphones. Samsung SDI continues to sign large-scale ESS supply contracts with major European countries Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Against this, LG, through the consortium of its affiliate companies in electronics, chemicals, telecommunications, IT services, and construction, joined the Jeju Smart Grid Complex. LG, after all, developed smart grid solutions with ESS and EMS functions. LE Chemicals will also officially start the ESS of the Iksan plant, currently under test operations, and the Ochang plant, currently under construction, within this month.

In addition, Hyundai Motors, POSCO, and LG are continuing their R&D for fuel cells. Samsung and SK are competing in the electric car battery market, and Hanwha and Hanjin are in the group energy fields.

GS established a joint company with its competitor SK in order to enhance the competitiveness of direct LNG exports. Doosan, although not included in the top ten, has recently acquired two companies specialized in fuel cells, one from the US and one local, and is challenging the market as well.

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