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Working to capture the increasing potential of the Japanese solar market

By Javier Mestres, Executive Director  ISOFOTON Japan LLC

Over the last few weeks, leading international media that cover the photovoltaic industry have reported the increasing potential of the Japanese solar market, backed up by stunning figures.

Accohinomaru flag Japanrding to the IHS iSupply consultancy, a total of 1.5 GW in PV capacity was installed in Japan during the first quarter of 2013, up from 0.4 GW in the same period last year. As a result of this 270% increase, the Japanese solar market will overtake the German market as the world’s largest PV market in terms of revenue in 2013. Although China is still expected to be the largest market in 2013 in terms of newly installed PV capacity, the high prices of PV in Japan will drive Japan to become the world’s largest market in terms of revenue. If overall installed PV systems are about to grow by 4%, Japanese installed capacity will grow by 82% compared to the same period of 2012, reaching 20 billion $USD.

With the new feed-in-tariff implemented last year, the Japanese renewable energy market has been attracting increased attention from across the globe. ISOFOTÓN established a Japanese subsidiary in March 2012 in order to respond to the rapidly expanding market. According to EPIA, the Japanese market will reach 2,500 MW in solar installations by the end of 2013 and Japan will become the world’s third largest solar market, with more than 1.8 trillion yen in investment (14.8 billion Euros.)

PV EXPO Japan 2013: A platform to present our expertise and know- how

During the PV Expo 2013 held in Tokyo in February 2013, ISOFOTÓN was able to connect with many international developers. The event is part of the World Smart Energy Week, and was the second event focused on photovoltaic energy since the feed-in-tariff went into effect. Attendance grew substantially this year with 1,890 exhibitors and more than 125,000 visitors from 65 countries, and it was a lively and useful business platform. At a time when many European countries have cut back support for renewable technologies, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has made strong efforts to increase the use of renewable power generation and reduce dependence on atomic energy. Before the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011, atomic plants provided about 30 percent of Japan’s power.

Japanese banks have started to lend to foreign renewable power plant developers when they saw their commitment to produce locally and develop synergies and alliances with local partners. ISOFOTON is a clear example of this, as the company has already took part in its first megasolar project in Japan. We partnered with five other companies to jointly invest in installing a 1.25MW PV plant in Ube Techno Park that was completed earlier this year. We see this as just the beginning of the enormous potential for ISOFOTON’s solar solutions in Japan and we continue to position ourselves for growth in the market. PV industry is especially supported by government as Development Bank of Japan Inc. (owned by the Japanese Government) is currently facilitating low- interest loans to solar developers that will borrow residential rooftop surfaces to install small-sized PV systems.

Briefly, Japan is a country that has everything to attract not only investor`s interest but PV industry`s attention.

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