Kyocera Counts on Overseas Solar Sales to Expand in U.S., Asia

  • Panel production may exceed 1.2 gigawatts in fiscal 2016
  • Large-scale solar in Japan seen stable for next few years

Kyocera Corp. expects solar-panel production to exceed 1.2 gigawatts for the year starting April 1 as it pushes to expand sales in the U.S. and Asia, while promoting storage systems combined with panels in Japan.

The Kyoto-based company forecasts production of solar panels will reach the 1.2-gigawatt threshold for the 12 months ending March 31, before exceeding that mark the following year, said Toshihide Koyano, who heads Kyocera’s solar-energy business group.

“The ratio of domestic sales will drop, while the volume is expected to remain the same, so the total is expected to exceed 1.2 gigawatts,” he said. 

Kyocera’s shipment for large-scale solar projects in Japan is expected to remain at the same level for the next few years, according to the official.

Kyocera is also promoting storage systems combined with solar panels on residential rooftops. The push comes amid a government effort to get new homes to incorporate such devices, as well as energy-efficient air conditioners and lighting in order to bring net energy use to zero. The government wants to achieve “net zero energy” for new homes in Japan by 2020.

Home Storage

“Home builders will begin offering different types of net zero energy homes next spring so storage will be incorporated regardless of the availability of subsidies,” Koyano said. 

Japan’s solar market shows signs of slowing, with some utilities saying their transmission lines are being overwhelmed with requests for grid connection from solar developers.

Shipments of solar panels in the country were lower for each quarter this year, compared with the same period last year, data from the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association show. 

Kyocera plans to expand sales in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar, focusing mainly on commercial projects, according to Koyano. In the U.S., the company is focusing on panel sales for residential rooftops and community solar programs.

Kyocera has been developing solar cells since 1975.

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