PV Expo Tokyo: Japanese market flowing downstream


According to a number of exhibitors at this year’s PV Expo Tokyo, Japan’s PV market is leaning ever more heavily towards meeting the growing demand for solar services.

pv magazine spoke with a wide range of companies on day two of the solar event and discovered that the downstream market for PV in Japan is now more important than ever. Stefan Spork, Managing director of Mounting Systems GmbH, pointed out that for large scale installations, more and more clients are requesting not just components but are also for construction work services – for example, for the pile driving of ground mounted racks. This trend will be accelerated, Spork believes, by a general paucity of available domestic construction workers due to the present building boom in Japan.

JA Solar told pv magazine that the company is increasing its financial services to their clients and expanding the number of its installer seminars, according to COO Liu Yong.

QCells, meanwhile, is expanding its number of Japanese offices from four currently to five or six by the end of this year, said Japanese Country Manager Shin Dongin. The company expects to sell more than 350 MW for residential and small commercial applications this year in Japan alone, which is 50% more than in 2013, according to Dongin.

CIGS market leader Solar Frontier is also expanding its activities in the downstream sector, Yuichi Kuroda, Vice President Corporate Planning and Operations told pv magazine. One important part of this strategy will be the Zero-Energy House with integrated PV – a product that the company has offered to the market since end of last year, Kuroda said.

Due to an estimated decline in large scale applications in Japan over the next two years, the company is planning to expand its sales shares of residential and commercial rooftop applications, Kuroda confirmed. The Solar Frontier VP expects that domestic sales for the Japanese market will grow from 900 MW in 2013 to around 1 GW this year.

PV Expo Tokyo ends tomorrow, and pv magazine will follow up with further stories from the show and a full report in April’s issue of the magazine.