US PV manufacturer and developer First Solar has announced that it has started construction of its first PV plant in Japan, following up on the recent news that it had established a subsidiary for operating in the country.
The 1.4MWDC plant will be made with First Solar CdTe thin-film PV modules and is being built in Kitakyushu-shi, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. The glass supplied to First Solar for manufacturing the company’s CdTe thin-film modules comes from Nippon Sheet Glass, based in Tokyo. The power station is expected to go online in the first quarter of 2014. First Solar holds 100% of project equity.
Although First Solar recently topped a ranking of EPC companies compiled by solar project tracking website Wiki-Solar, construction duties on the Kitakyushu-shi project will be handed to electrical manufacturing and project company Yaskawa Electric Corporation – headquartered in Kitakyushu – and Tokyo-based Obayashi Corporation, one of the five largest construction companies in Japan.
In addition to establishing Japanese subsidiary First Solar Japan and the announcement of utility-scale projects, beginning with the Kitakyushu-shi project, First Solar will also enter the Japanese residential PV market, by selling its TetraSun monocrystalline modules through JX Nippon Oil & Energy.
First Solar chief commercial officer Joseph Kishkill, said that the project marked the beginning of the company’s “long-term strategic investment in Japan”.