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Overall Demand Continues to Decline in Japan – Except Utility-scale Installation

published: 2017-02-23 19:25

Japan’s PV Energy Association (JPEA) announced the shipping statistics of 3Q16 (from October-December 2016) on February 20th. Due to weaker domestic demand, the Japanese PV market has witnessed downturn for seven consecutive quarters. Only the demand for utility-scale power plants has increased.

JPEA investigated into 38 PV companies, including Sharp, Kyocera, Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric, Solar Frontier and so on.

Data shows that module shipment has declined 17% from 3Q15 to 1,718MW in 3Q16 and cell shipment has dropped 23% from 3Q15 to 564.6MW in 3Q16. Module shipment has also declined compared to 3Q14. Only utility-scale power plants above 500kW have grown, up 13% from last year. The majority of shipment growth was contributed by foreign companies. Shipment for residential PV modules has reached 302MW, down 25% from the same period last year. Both Japanese and foreign companies have started to reduce the supply of residential PV modules.

Japanese manufacturers have particularly lowered their shipment for residential PV modules substantially, down 18% from last year.   In terms of export, Japanese cells exported to the markets outside of North America and Europe has increased six times to 28.8MW, while module exports to the overseas has decreased rapidly, down 85%. Under the circumstances where demand declines in Japan and manufacturers have to find new opportunities in the overseas, Japanese manufacturers still need to plan for their international business strategies.  

Foreign companies’ module shipments in 3Q16 represented 46% of the total module shipment, hitting a record high. An increasing proportion of module supply to the Japanese market came from foreign companies. The production ratio between domestic and foreign companies now reached 34:66.   EnergyTrend projected that the total Japanese demand will be higher than 8GW in 2016 but lower than 7GW in 2017, showing an obvious downtrend. (Photo Credit: Σ64 via Wikipedia CC3.0)

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