PV Expo Tokyo: show closes on an upbeat note

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The PV Expo Tokyo show closed its doors today after three positive days that saw fevered discussions, insightful workshops, the unveiling of innovative products and a bustling crowd of visitors drawn from all over the globe.

According to the show's organizers, the entire Smart Energy Week – of which both PV Expo Tokyo and PV Systems Expo are part – attracted 1,596 exhibitors, which is a slight increase on last year. 562 of those exhibited at the PV Expo (including PV Systems Expo), and although that was a very slight reduction on the 558 who exhibited last year, the exhibition area was 20% bigger, with bigger booths abounding.

Another positive sign was the increase in international exhibitors at PV Expo, which accounted for 60% of the floor space this year, up from 50% last year. The majority of these came from China and offered modules and systems, reflecting the market appetite in Japan.

The demand for services was underlined by Izumi Kaizuka of RTS Corporation, who told pv magazine that the key challenge for Japan’s PV sector in 2014 is to lower the cost of construction and installation. Costs of MW-size PV plants have increased from 280 yen/W in Q4 2012 to 305 yen in the final quarter of last year, said Kaizuka.

A scarcity of land has also increased land prices, and as Japan's construction sector booms in the post-Fukushima building landscape, affordable construction workers are hard to come by.

Germany's Schletter has eyed Japan's market and spotted an opportunity to bring its expertise and cost-saving techniques to the country, a Schletter spokesperson told pv magazine. Schletter is bringing its construction equipment (particularly piling equipment for ground-mount systems), know-how and experience to Japan, employing local contractors to help instill a more efficient construction ethos.

The company states that the installation and construction costs for larger scale PV systems are the same in Europe – which is €50-€60 per kW. These figures are some 30-40% lower than the standard Japanese installation cost.

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