Booming Japanese market draws industry leaders to PV Expo

Solar leaders from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and the U.S. will take the stage at the opening of PV Expo in Tokyo tomorrow. The event is co-hosted alongside eight other cleantech trade shows and conferences, as a part of World Smart Energy Week and will be held at the sprawling Toyko Big Sight.

The list of ‘c level’ solar heavyweights attending this year’s PV Expo makes for impressive reading. Trina Solar Chairman and CEO Jifan Gao, Canadian Solar’s Shawn Qu, Hanwha Q Cells CEO Seongwoo Nam, Mitsubishi’s Takeshi Sugiyama, Neo Solar Power’s President Andy Shen, Solar Frontier CEO Atsuhiko Hirano and First Solar CTO Raffi Garabedian will all attend the event and take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

In a sign of the seismic shift Japan’s energy sector has experienced since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster the event Energy Liberalization Japan will be held as a part of World Smart Energy Week. Coincidentally the event will take place the same week in which Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) reported radiation levels 70 times greater than the already-high levels in the bay near to the destroyed nuclear power plant.

Industry announcements are expected to come thick and fast during PV Expo and the first has come from German and U.S. manufacturer SolarWorld. The company has announced that it has founded a new Japanese subsidiary. The managing directors of the new subsidiary will be SolarWorld’s VP of sales Carsten Pattberg and the is managing director of SolarWorld Asia Pacific Max von Romatowski, who is based in Singapore.

To date SolarWorld has distributed its modules in Japan in an exclusive partnership with Europe Solar Innovations (ESI). SolarWorld says that it intends to strengthen its cooperation with ESI through the move.

“Japan is one of the three most important booming markets in photovoltaics today. As a quality manufacturer, we need to be present there. Our goal in 2015 is to realize sales growth in three-digit percentages with our Japanese partners,” explains Frank Asbeck, CEO of SolarWorld AG.

Bunsaku Nagai will assume responsibility for operational management of the new sales subsidiary. Nagai previously worked for the American solar company SunEdison.

This year is SolarWorld’s third consecutive year at PV Expo. It will be displaying its 290Wp Sunmodule Protect, which at 18kg is lighter than previous modules and features a frame edge that allows for water runoff, facilitating self-cleaning.