PV Expo Tokyo: Solar spring continues

27. February 2013 | Top News, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Hans-Christoph Neidlein

The sixth PV Expo Tokyo kicked off today, February 26, with optimism. The world’s most generous photovoltaic FITs, coupled with a high environmental awareness, continue to lure many international solar companies to Japan. Insiders at the event expect new photovoltaic installations to top three to four GW this year.

PV Expo Tokyo 6th 2013

China's photovoltaic presence was very noticeable on the first day of the 6th PV Expo Tokyo.

Most obvious on the first day of Japan’s largest solar tradeshow is the growing presence of Chinese photovoltaic module manufacturers and project developers. All of the usual Chinese tier 1 suspects, including Suntech, Yingli, Canadian Solar and Trina, are in attendance. Dozens of tier 2 and 3 manufacturers, like Phono Solar, China Sunergy and Wuxi SaijingSolar, are also present.

According to Kuniko Misawa, general manager marketing division at Suntech Japan, Suntech is expecting to increase its Japanese market share from 8% in 2012 to 10% this year. Meanwhile, Julian Itagaki from Yingli Japan’s marketing division, states, "With the growing business in Japan, and in emerging markets like Latin America and Africa, we are trying to absorb declines in Europe and the U.S."

With a large booth, Hong Kong-based project financer, developer and independent power producer, Sky Solar presented its products and services. The company has a photovoltaic project pipeline totaling 200 MW in Japan, according to Daiki Comont, sales employee from Sky Solar Japan. "Japan is now our most important market worldwide," underlined Daiki.

German companies including SMA, SolarWorld, Luxor, GP Solar, Refusol and Schletter are also represented at the event. And a large number of visitors surrounded wholesaler Krannich Solar, which was exhibiting for the first time in Tokyo, after having recently opened its first office in Japan.

Overall, more than 590 exhibitors are touting their wares across two large exhibition halls in at the Tokyo Big Sight convention and exhibition center. The expo is, like last year, embedded in the World Smart Energy Week. According to organizers Reed Exhibitions Japan, with 1,890 exhibitiors (2012: 1,453) and an anticipated 125,000 visitors (2012: 93,497), it is expected to significantly grow in 2013.

Insiders expect newly added photovoltaic installations to top three to four GW in Japan this year, despite the planned tariff reductions this April. As such, it will be interesting to see how the conversations, discussions and new business developments advance over the next two days of PV Expo Tokyo. pv magazine will continue to report from the ground.

Translated and edited by Becky Beetz.

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