High-efficient PV cell/module is always one of PV EXPO’s attractions. The Japanese market welcomes high efficient PV products because of increasing demands from residential markets and wider acceptance of higher prices. Manufacturers therefore did their best to promote their products and solutions. Kyocera, a leading PV manufacturer of Japanese PV industry, showed its extraordinary technology at the PV EXPO. Aside from the official announcement of entering the mono-Si market, the spotlight was on their multi-Si cell with the world’s highest conversion efficiency, which is ready to go into mass production.
At PV EXPO 2014, PV cells with conversion rates between 18%~18.4% were the most common item on display, which were all lower than Kyocera’s new 18.6% PV cell. By combing 48/60 pieces of 18.6% PV cells, the modules’ capacities would reach 210W and 270W, respectively. Through the use of Kyocera’s advanced technology, multi-Si PV cells can also generate watts as high as watts generated from modules combined by mono-Si PV cells.
At this year’s PV EXPO, EnergyTrend conducted an interview with Mr. Ikeda, General Manager of the Solar Marketing Division, Kyocera. Through this interview, we understood more about the Japanese PV market. Mr. Ikeda pointed out that the total PV shipment of Kyocera was around 1.2GW last year, and the shipment target for 2014 will increase by more than 10%. Additionally, all the shipment in 2014 are planned to be produced in-house. Like in 2013, Kyocera expressed its aim to continue focusing on the Japanese market and sell more than 90% of its products in the nation. This is because Japan’s government provides better subsidies than other countries. Moreover, Ikeda said that demands from large-scale PV plants are forecasted to increase this year so Kyocera plans to pay more attention to its domestic market.
When it comes to the Feed-in Tariff in fiscal year 2014, Ikeda projected that the rate to be revised downward will be around 10%. After being asked about the impact from FiT cut, Ikeda explained his solutions using two scenarios.
“If the FiT is rapidly revised downward beyond any anticipation, the Japanese PV market would turn back to the residential market,” indicated Ikeda. “If the FiT is lowered slightly year by year, the demands from both large-scale PV power plants and residential systems could continue to increase, and the growth of residential systems could be rather stable.”
Accordingly, Kyocera unveiled its first mono-Si products for rooftops PV systems, combining with energy storage and monitoring systems to provide intelligent residential integrating PV systems.
Although Kyocera focuses more on supplying PV modules now, it has already begun to combine EPC and financial solutions to become more competitive in the changing market. Investing in the 70MW Kagojima power plant, the largest one in Japan, is one of their ambitions.
EnergyTrend also discussed with Ikeda about the patent issue regarding 3-busbar, a product which is cheaper and more efficient. Ikeda said that most manufacturers use 3-busbar to increase the producing efficiency amidst patent negotiations among manufacturers now. In the future, there may be more manufacturers switch to use 4-bustar, which will lead to 4-busbar’s cost reduction and efficiency improvement.
This year, Japanese PV market remains strong. Although the Japanese government will raise the consumption tax and lower the Feed-in Tariff, its domestic market’s PV product demand will be as vigorous as last year. Benefitted from the strong demand, Kyocera will continue to provide high-quality products and will strive to reach a higher shipment goal in 2014.