Japan leads Kyocera solar sales decline

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Japanese conglomerate Kyocera reports that sales of its solar PV modules have declined over the course of its latest fiscal year, which ended on March 31. Despite a big push into the U.S. market, the company says that an increase in U.S. PV sales did not make up for a decline in its domestic business.

Revenues in Kyocera’s Applied Ceramics Division, which contains both solar PV and other product lines, fell 11% to ¥248 billion (US$2.2 billion) in 2016. Operating margin for the division improved to 6.6% from nearly break-even levels a year ago, for which the company credits cost-cutting measures. It is unclear how much this had to do with the company’s solar business.

?Japan is Kyocera’s biggest market for PV modules, and this market may be declining. Mercom Capital puts Japanese installations at around 10 GW in calendar years 2014 and 2015, but the Japanese Photovoltaic Energy Association shows shipments lagging on a month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter basis after peaking in March 2015.

Looking to the future, Kyocera plans to advance its work with both solar PV and storage. “In the environment and energy market, Kyocera will push ahead with broad business development, from energy creating business through solar power generating systems to energy storage business through the supply of electricity storage units and energy saving business that seeks to enhance efficiency of power consumption through an energy management system,” notes the company.

Kyocera is not optimistic about domestic solar market conditions, and joins other participants in predicting a future contraction in the Japanese market.