First Solar restates commitment to Japan


U.S. solar manufacturer First Solar has reaffirmed its commitment to the Japanese market in the wake of Tokyo’s announcement of a retreat from its Kyoto Protocol greenhous gas (GHG) emission targets.

The Japanese government grabbed the headlines a week ago when it announced at the UN’s COP 19 conference of parties climate change summit in Warsaw that it would be rowing back its GHG emission targets as a result of the post-Fukushima shutdown of its nuclear reactors.

But, despite fears the change in policy would have a knock-on effect on a solar market which has become a magnet for developers thanks to the world’s most generous FIT regime, First Solar’s Steve Krum told pv magazine the Tempe-based company is committed to Japan.

"First Solar invests in markets where solar power addresses a fundamental need on a long-term basis," said Krum, from First Solar’s investor relations department. "In Japan, solar power can provide clean and safe power, filling a gap currently created by idle nuclear, and helping make Japan independent of natural gas imports. We believe solar power can help address Japan’s unique energy needs over the long-term.

"We believe Japan is going to become one of the key solar markets in the world. We see a clear and growing commitment to solar energy in Japan, and our goal is to be the partner of choice of the solar PV utility sector in Japan."

The Japanese government announced at COP 19 – which closes today in Warsaw after a week of high-level meetings – that it will revise its CO2 emission targets down from its previously stated aim of reducing emissions to 25% below their 1990 levels.

Instead, prime minister Shinzo Abe’s administration will now aim for a modest 3.8% cut in its 2005 emission levels by 2020, a figure that would actually amount to a 3% rise on 1990 levels.