This is the fourth time for system manufacturer Topper Sun, a subsidiary of Big Sun Group, to attend PV EXPO. Topper Sun has focused on its iPV Tracker all these years. Big Sun's increasing market visibility and various demonstration projects in Japan have allowed it to become more popular in Japan. The company is targeting on 20MW of iPV Tracker order in Japan in 2016.
EnergyTrend visited Topper Sun’s booth at Taiwan Pavilion, where a small set of iPV Tracker was placed at the booth. Fritz Cheng, CEO of Topper Sun, pointed out that after going through years of exposures in PV EXPO and their hard effort in Japan, the company has earned 10MW of orders each in Kanto and Kansai. Also, they have decided to partner with two agents from Kanto and one from Kansai. “Topper Sun hopes to provide more localized services through working with local EPC manufacturers to plan for a thorough project development. This can strengthen the trust with its Japanese clients and also reduce the need to send company staff over to Japan,” said Cheng.
Experiences in the Japanese Market
Topper Sun’s iPV Tracker has the leading position in Japan’s dual-axis solar tracking system market, which is not easy for a country that prefers to use domestic products. Cheng explained that the successful demonstration projects are great help to allow them to be more accepted in the Japanese market. Because of the increasing exposure in the exhibition in the past few years and the positive feedback for the demonstration projects (a 30%-40% increase in power generation in average), Topper Sun has performed better in Japan.
Nakamoto, sales of Topper Sun’s Japanese agent Smile Awaji aggressively introduced iPV Tracker to the visitors at the booth. Based on the understanding, although the scale of Topper Sun’s booth this year is smaller, many people inquired about the product. Cheng indicated that because Japan specifically focuses on the quality of products, they would select better steel for iPV Trackers shipped to Japan to satisfy Japanese clients’ high quality requests. Topper Sun hopes to expand iPV Tracker to 40MW in Japan by the end of 2017 and have all the products go with monitoring system, iPVita.
Enters the Heavy Snow Area
iPV Tracker can turn into wind/sun/dust/snow shelters, in which, wind and snow shelters are particularly attractive to the Japanese market. “Topper Sun has built hundreds of demonstration systems at snowy Yamagata, with no damage occurred within three years,” said Cheng. This caught the attention of one of Big Sun Group’s long-term top-tier cell partner.
The cell manufacturer found out that the annual power generation at the power plant that uses iPV Tracker is 30%-33% higher than fixed systems. iPV Tracker can also function normally in the snow. The manufacturer later came up with a research report, projecting that if using double-sided PV cell with iPV Tracker in heavy snow areas, such as Hokkaido and Hokuriku regions, the annual power generation will be 100% higher than using single-sided PV cell and fixed systems due to sunlight reflection in the snow.
Yet, the plan is still in developmental stage. Cheng indicated that if changing to use double-sided modules, not a lot of changes have to be made to the design of iPV Tracker. In addition, with iPV Tracker’s snow shelter function, it can create efficient PV systems. “Aside from Japan, Topper Sun has also signed 30MW+ contracts in China. Later on, we will begin to promote iPV Tracker to the US, South Africa, and South America,” added Cheng.