Solar Frontier banks on higher Japanese sales

Total Japanese sales are expected to increase to 80 to 90% of the company’s total sales in 2013, Atsuhiko Hirano, Director SVP International Business Saudi Arabia Project Mega Solar Business (Japan) told pv magazine at this year’s PV Expo Tokyo. Last year, in comparison, sales in Japan accounted for 60% of the company’s total.

Regarding production, the Japanese solar market boom is said to have contributed significantly to Solar Frontier’s high utilization rates of between 600 and 700 MW at its 900 MW Kunitomi plant in Myazaki. Hirano said, however, that the company is not planning to ramp up capacity in the short-term.

In addition to the utility-scale photovoltaic project market, Solar Frontier is also increasingly looking to the Japanese rooftop market, due to its sustainability, continued Hirano. He said this year, expectations are that residential sales will account for 20% of Solar Frontier’s total Japanese market sales. The main partners for new business are housing companies.

In the commercial sector, Solar Frontier is looking to strengthen its position as an Independent Power producer (IPP). Several such projects are said to be in the pipeline, said Hirano.

In related news, parent company Showa Shell Sekiyu, and Ube Industries Ltd have announced their intentions to build a 21 MW photovoltaic plant in western Japan, according to Bloomberg. It is scheduled to be operational by next July, and Solar Frontier is expected to supply the necessary CIS thin film modules.

Translated by Becky Beetz.