First Solar expands activities in Japan with 250 MW of projects


First Solar is currently developing some 250 MW a company executive has told Bloomberg.

Karl Brutsaert, a director of business development for First Solar, told the wire service in an interview published on Wednesday that the company’s strategy in Japan was "to develop projects, make investments in utility-scale projects, manage the construction phase and also do operation and management over the long term."

Brutsaert added that limited land in Japan would lead to more rooftop installations in the country, predicting that the segment would grow even larger than the mega solar segment in the country. “We are really positioning ourselves for the long-term picture."

Japan is expected to be a lucrative market for the Arizona-based thin-film manufacturer in view of the country’s ambitious renewable energy targets and generous government incentives that have fueled a booming solar industry.

First Solar, the largest U.S. solar panel maker, has largely focused on the North American market but has been expanding internationally in the past year.

The company has announced it will invest about $100 million to develop solar projects in Japan. Its first plant, a 1.3 MW solar plant the southwestern city of Kitakyushu, began operation in March.

In July, First Solar agreed to supply Japanese solar distibutor and integrator XSOL with its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules in Japan as part of a one-year, 100 MW deal.

At the same time, First Solar has expanded operations on other regions in Asia, including India, where the company announced plans earlier this month to develop a 45 MW-AC solar PV project at two sites in the newly established Indian state of Telangana, which split off from Andhra Pradesh in June.