Canadian Solar expanding Japanese PV pipeline despite grid connection woes

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The temporary suspension of grid connections in certain regions of Japan, have done little to dampen Canadian Solar’s existing and future PV pipeline. 

The major PVEP said that it had increased its late stage project pipeline in Japan to 490.5MW, compared to 405MW at the end of the second quarter of 2014. 

Furthermore, Canadian Solar highlighted that it was evaluating more than a further 200MW of projects that it could acquire, bringing it late-stage pipeline in the country to around 550-600MW by the end of 2014.

“We remain confident on our position in the Japanese market, both as a module supplier and project developer,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc. “The recent announcements by electric utilities are not expected to slow down projects that have already been approved. Instead, we believe that it is ultimately beneficial to weed out some of the superficial projects so that those with good quality have better chance to advance. We expect to be on track for our Japanese project development business.”  

Canadian Solar said that PV projects that have already gained full grid connection approval in areas where new connections are suspended due to fears of grid instability were not affected by the rulings and would proceed to grid connection as planned. 

However, the company said that only one project in the Kyushu area, namely, ‘Shibushi-Uchinokura’ totalling 2.3MW had been impacted by the temporary suspension due to not receiving full grid connection approval at the rime of the suspension. 

Ten projects (95.6MW) within the Kyushu area were said to have received approval, according to the company. 

Canadian Solar also highlighted that three projects in the Tohoku area totalling 135MW had been affected but these were not expected to begin commercial operation until late 2016 or 2017, indicating there was plenty of time for grid capacity issues to be solved before any official suspension could make an impact. 

After Kyushu's suspension of grid connections, Hokkaido Electric Power (Hokkaido), Okinawa Electric Power (Okinawa), Tohoku Electric Power (Tohoku) and Shikoku Electric Power (Shikoku) also announced temporarily grid connection approval suspensions. 

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