Sharp has managed to fight its way back to profitability this year — posting an 18% boost in sales over last year, up to JPY 2.93 trillion (US$28.6 billion), and a net profit of JPY 11.56 billion ($113 million). The return to profitability is notable because of the large loss posted by the company the previous year.
The recent gains were partly thanks to the recent boom in Japan’s residential solar market, as well as the fact that 2013 was a good year for the company’s other sectors.
Solar cell sales rose by a very substantial 68.9% to JPY 439 billion ($4.3 billion) — this was partly down to the residential market, but also partly down the utilization of its panels in large-scale solar projects.
According to reps from the company, this current fiscal year will see a pick-up in the Japanese economy, and, subsequently, a pick-up in sales.
“The overseas business environment is expected to show mild recovery. However, we anticipate the situation will remain unpredictable, with some risk factors, including the pullback of US quantitative easing and a slowdown in the growth in China and emerging countries, and a geopolitical risk in Ukraine.”
Something to note with regard to increased domestic demand — the company has largely refocused on the domestic market at the expense of the international as a result of weak sales in the European market. With an increased focus on the Japanese market, sales should remain quite healthy there.
In related news, the “largest solar PV power plant in Japan” recently went online in Oita City, located on the southern portion of the island.
The 82 MW Oita Solar Project represents a significant boost to the country’s, and to the region’s, renewable energy capacity. Power from the new plant is currently being sold to Kyushu Electric Power Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Sharp Solar Profit Is Positive Again (Solar Cell Sales Increase 69%) was originally published on Solar Love!.
The top 15 solar PV module manufacturers of 2013 have been revealed thanks to a new report from the market research firm IHS.
As many would no doubt guess, the list is dominated — yet again — by firms based in China. But, interestingly, the Japanese firms Sharp and Kyocera saw a bit of a resurgence — up a fair bit from previous years. Japan’s strong feed-in tariffs for solar and Japanese preference for Japan-made products was clearly part of this upswing.
Some other things to note — Yingli Green Energy (aka Yingli Solar) once again took the top spot; 7 out of the top 10 companies were based in China; and the total Chinese share of the market fell 1% to 58% — down from a 59% market share in 2012.
“The year 2013 marked the turnaround of global PV markets and the recovery of leading players in the photovoltaic industry,” stated Jessica Jin, an analyst for solar supply chains at IHS. “Chinese and Japanese PV module suppliers benefited from the surge in demand in their domestic markets, with China in particular accounting for more than a quarter of global installations in 2013 and becoming the leading region in the process.”
IHS provides more:
The Chinese as a group continued to be the star players of the global PV market, but there were also signs pointing to slower growth. While they continue to lead by far, 2013 also marks the second time their overall market share has not risen significantly. Chinese suppliers held a 57% share in 2011, 59% in 2012 and 58% last year.
European companies also maintained stable share in 2013 at 13% — nearly unchanged from 2011 and 2012. In contrast, the Japanese module industry enjoyed an increase to 15%, up from 12% in 2011. Meanwhile, US suppliers fell behind as their portion dropped to 9%, down from 13% in 2011.
While Sharp and Kyocera saw the most substantial rises, a third Japanese firm managed to rank in the top 15 as well, CIS thin-film producer Solar Frontier. Solar Frontier saw shipment growth of more than 60% in 2013.
The IHS report also noted that total global solar PV shipments hit 38.7 GW in 2013 — roughly a 24% increase over the previous year. Interestingly, much of the growth appeared to be from the top players — showing clearly the consolidation of the industry. The top 15 manufacturers held a 59% market share in 2013, up from 51% in 2012.
With regard to the continued consolidation of the solar PV manufacturing industry, that’s something that’s likely going to continue for some time — with the dropping of state-support, in many cases, being one of the main drivers.
That’s exactly what’s happening right now in China, with a recent order by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology doing a lot to “clean up” the industry — likely finishing off over 75% of the country’s solar panel and related component manufacturers.
Expect to see more of that in the near-future. And just note, this isn’t bad — it’s a natural part of a maturing industry.
Top Solar Module Manufacturers of 2013 was originally published on Solar Love!.
Cherry blossoms in the foreground of Mount Fuji (image: ladyadventurer.co.uk)
So far, at least, the famed blossoming cherry trees of Japan don’t discriminate geographically. This time of year, they grace even the surroundings of nuclear power generators shaken by earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns three years ago. Otherwise, though, the Fukushima landscape remains desolate. Despite widespread resettlement in other regions, over 15 thousand residents of the proximate area still cannot return to their homes.
Cleanup contractors cannot perform customary work on the ground because the risk of radiation from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex continues. Instead, drones do the close surveillance. You can catch some of the video here.
The Tokyo-based multicopter firm HEXaMedia sends its unpiloted flying cameras over Japan’s eastern coast to record the destruction caused by the incredible tsunami that followed the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and led Fukushima’s live reactors to melt down.
In this footage, one drone overflying the Japanese ghost town of Tokioma captures this year’s cherry trees, bright pink amid the abandoned and useless wreckage of local civilization.
Says an observer:
“Tokioma had more than 15,800 residents across 6,000 houses, schools, and business, and all of them are still prevented from returning to their homes, pictured. A total of 300,000 people evacuated the Fukushima area on the east coast…. [As of August last year, 1,600 of these deaths were due to people living in temporary housing and not having access to hospitals or medical care.]”
Note: At least one of the YouTube posters (Shazzy Mazzy of The News Insight) and Victoria Woollaston, the reporter who covered the drone tapes from the Daily Mail Online, appear skeptical about radiation dangers to life on earth: “many of these areas are said to be covered in radioactive soil,” “reports claim the soil and water in the region still contains high levels of radiation that makes the clean-up effort difficult.” This slanted “journalism” prompts unrealistic science denial. Tell it to the vapor and graves of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Drone Captures Fukushima Desolation Amid Cherry Blossoms was originally posted on: PlanetSave. To read more from Planetsave, join thousands of others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage.