Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), a specialist in glass manufacturing based in Japan, is planning to install a 5MW PV system on the rooftop of its plant located in Takasago in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. According to the company, the PV system will be one of the largest rooftop PV systems in Japan.
As part of the plans, the company will install its ultra-lightweight Leoflex PV modules on the roof in areas where conventional solar panels are too heavy to install, enabling it to maximize the installation area without roof reinforcement work. The Leoflex module, which weighs less than 6kg per square metre, is an ideal solution for roofs where loading weight restrictions apply. On average, a standard PV module weighs 12kg per square metre.
By installing the Leoflex modules, AGC will successfully expand the total installation area by approximately 20%. The project will cover a total area of 70,000 square metres, of which Leoflex modules will cover 13,000 square metres.
Since the launch of the feed-in tariff in Japan in July, the country has seen a surge in MW-scale PV investments. However, as highlighted by the company, it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure land space for PV installations at a reasonable lease rate. As a result, an increasing number of companies have started to turn to ground-mount installations and rooftop solar installations.
According to independent research firm Solarbuzz, the Japanese PV market is expected to grow 64% year-on-year in 2012 to 2.05GW.