Solar Frontier’s recently-appointed CEO, Atsuhiko Hirano, addressed international leaders in business, government and academia at the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum in Tokyo on October 8th. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, addressed the Forum by video message and Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of the Board of Toyota Corporation, gave the keynote.
Mr. Hirano outlined the role that solar photovoltaics, especially real-world technologies such as CIS, can play in the future energy mix and how the current state of the PV market in Japan provides a glimpse into that future:
“I believe market-based solutions will be pivotal to driving behavioural change in how we source and use energy. We either change through necessity or through desire. I prefer to have the choice to change. Today’s solar photovoltaic solutions are such market-based solutions, with a unique role to play in the overall future energy landscape,” Hirano told the Forum.
“When most people think about the role of solar, they think of it as a substitute for other sources of energy. The unique point of solar photovoltaics is that it’s a form of distributed energy. Solar energy can be installed over a wide range of areas that other sources of energy can’t . on top of homes, on farms, at airports, harbours and anywhere off-grid. And that makes it special. It means that anyone can install solar energy. Anyone can participate. And from the moment an owner starts to generate electricity, they become an active agent in the energy debate. They become part of the solution,” affirmed Hirano.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated in his video message to the Forum: “Innovation in the energy and environment sectors is a long-term process, spanning areas as diverse as technological development to actual infrastructure investment. The innovators themselves are also diverse, covering universities, research institutes, companies, and governments. To accelerate innovation, we need to identify a common international roadmap among industry, government, and academia for the development of technologies for the future.”
Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) is an annual conference aimed at addressing climate change through innovation. Through discussion among international leaders in areas related to climate change, it aims to investigate innovative approaches and how they should be promoted, and to drive cooperation to achieve them. The ICEF steering committee works to ensure the agenda and program to reflect the wide range of views of the international community.
Atsuhiko Hirano took charge of Japan’s leading thin-film manufacturer and solutions provider on July 31, 2014, and is driving the company forward in its mission to provide customers globally economical and ecological solutions that make sense in the real world. Solar Frontier has gained significant market share in its home market of Japan over the past two years. The company is now focused on completing the construction of its fourth manufacturing plant in Japan, the Tohoku Plant, which will act as a model for future overseas manufacturing facilities. This new production facility will enable production of CIS at higher conversion efficiencies and best-in-class cost levels, an offering Solar Frontier will bring to more customers globally as it plans expansion outside of Japan.