PV Expo Tokyo hints at further growth for Japan's solar market


Japan’s PV market is set for further growth in 2014, despite rumblings of forthcoming FIT cuts – this was the overriding message of the first day of the PV Expo Tokyo.

Most of the exhibitors to whom pv magazine spoke remained confident and upbeat that double-digit growth is on the cards this year, refusing to allow talk of further FIT cuts of 14% in April to dampen the mood.

Although traffic in some of the corridors of the exhibition halls was a little slower than last year, the atmosphere throughout the opening day of Japan’s biggest solar trade show was encouragingly positive. The uplifting presence of foreign companies, particularly Chinese Tier 1 manufacturers, was keenly felt.

Most of the companies that pv magazine spoke to revealed that they are predicting high growth rates for this year. Yingli expects to sell more than 500 MW of modules in Japan alone in 2014 – twice as much as in 2013, Julian Itagaki, director of marketing at Yingli Green Energy Japan, told pv magazine.

JA Solar calculates an 80% growth rate for its Japanese business this year, and expects to sell more than 600 MW of modules, the company’s COO Liu Yong said. Trina Solar, meanwhile, is expecting a 50% increase of its Japanese module sales compared to 2013 – a growth rate that represents a 20% share of the company’s total global sales, according to Zhiguo Zhu, Trina Solar’s senior vice president. This year’s show also attracted a number of foreign companies to exhibit for the very first time, such as Vikram Solar of India.

Several companies have also showcased their new products at the PV Expo Tokyo. Glass-to-glass modules have featured heavily as a new trend, with Trina Solar’s frameless glass-to-glass module attracting a great deal of attention. According to the company they are especially ideal for desert and coastal climates, boasting added durability and a warranty of 30 years.

Chinese manufacturer Realforce also showcased a new frameless glass-to glass module, while SolarWorld has already sold more than 1 MW of its aluminum frame glass-to-glass modules in Japan over the last two months, said Max von Romatowski, MD for SolarWorld Asia Pacific.

pv magazine will bring you further reports from the show over the coming few days. If you are at the expo, come and say hi – we are at booth E35-14, East Hall 4.