PV Expo Japan: solutions for a unique market

01. March 2012 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets | By:  Hans-Christoph Neidlein/Jonathan Gifford

With photovoltaics enjoying a far higher profile in post-Fukushima Japan and a revamped feed-in tariff (FIT) soon to come into effect, solutions for the Japanese market have emerged as a strong trend at this week’s trade show in Tokyo.

A Solar Frontier stall at PV Expo Japan.

PV Expo Japan has seen domestic producers providing solutions for the Japanese market.

Having spoken to a range of producers at the event, pv magazine has seen that smaller, lighter and more powerful modules are the trend this year.

Japanese module manufacturer Fuji Pream introduced a lightweight module on the first day of PV Expo Japan. Weighing only 8.2 kilograms, yet capable of producing 215 watts (W) of power, Fuji Pream’s Takuhji Ohkawa explained that the modules are ideal for large rooftop installation. One challenge facing photovoltaics in Japan is that in earthquake sensitive regions, strict building codes require modules to be lightweight. Fuji Pream hopes that its modules can fill this niche.

Mitsubishi Electric unveiled its triangular modules, which are also only half the size of regular solar panels. These modules, claimed Mitsubishi’s Toshihide Sugimoto, can therefore be more easily installed to smaller rooftops typical in Japanese cities.

While the market strategy for these producers are firmly focused on serving Japanese needs, some other manufacturers and EPCs are making their presence felt at PV Expo Japan for the first time. SunPower and SunEdison both have prominent stands and are eagerly awaiting FIT rates for installations larger than ten kilowatts, which will be released on July 1.

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