Fuji Electric enjoys solar sales rise but wider industry concerns loom for Japan

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

Fuji Electric, the Japanese holding company which manufactures power electronics and related technologies, has reported a rise in sales from its solar power business segments, in the company’s results for the first half of the Japanese financial year.

The company stated that its solar power project development business saw a rise in orders, with the business divisions that include the sales of solar systems and facility construction services reporting higher than expected earnings. 

In common with several other large Japanese companies involved in the sector, Fuji Electric did not report specific figures for its solar sales. However the company stated that sales by its Power and Social Infrastructure division, which includes the sale of solar power generation systems, rose to ¥62.4 billion (US$55 million) from ¥56.9 billion in the first half of the previous year. Meanwhile the Industrial Infrastructure division, including solar power generation facility construction, reported sales of ¥73.9 billion for the period, up from ¥69.7 billion in H1 2013. Japan’s financial year (JFY) begins in April and finishes at the end of March, meaning the latest results reflect the period from 30 July until 30 September.

In a statement clarifying the difference between forecast and actual business results, Fuji Electric highlighted that net sales were actually ¥5.34 billion higher than forecasted, an upwards revision of 1.6% from ¥340,000 million to ¥345,341 million. This meant that net income leapt by 480.6% over forecasted figures, with ¥1.97 billion of actual sales reported as opposed to the ¥340 million forecasted by the company in April.

Fuji Electric let go of its solar cell business in February of this year, selling it to the Japanese subsidiary of a New Zealand company, ZinniaTek, in a deal which also included a research and development facility in Chiba and production facilities in Kumamoto, both in Japan. In July, Fuji Electric named Chinese tier one manufacturer Yingli Green as one of its “best suppliers” at an in-house awards event. Fuji stated then that Yingli’s modules had contributed to the strong performance of its solar plant business.

From the Japanese solar industry, Panasonic, Sharp and Kyocera have also reported financial figures in the last few days. All three appear to have been adversely affected by a rise in consumption tax, which was set at 8% in April. Another rise is tentatively scheduled for October of next year, which would take it up to 10%. While Panasonic reported a modest rise in PV module sales and the company’s first net cash gain in five years, domestic solar sales in the near future are expected to be impacted by the tax rise.

The good news for Fuji Electric's H1 JFY2014 performance comes at a time when the solar power industry is under pressure in Japan. This is partly to do with delays in getting projects connected due to concerns over available grid capacity, which has lead to several of the country’s regional utilities, which are also responsible for grid infrastructure, curtailing the approval of new solar projects since the end of September. In the period leading up to that decision, however, steps were made to facilitate the construction of some of those previously delayed projects, including deadlines from the government being given to developers to make projects shovel-ready and to get underway, which one analyst said would mean that in the very short term, Japan's solar industry would remain healthy. As reported by PV Tech in early October, a ‘working group’ was appointed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to tackle the grid connection issue. The group met for the first time last month, and is expected to meet three times in total before delivering its findings at the end of this year. Additionally consumer electricity bills have risen, thought to have been caused in part by a generous feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.

A review of the FiT programme is scheduled to take place at the end of this calendar year, with any decisions made likely to be incorporated into the process that results in the setting of next year’s policy on the FiT, at the end of the financial year. The question of whether nuclear power generation, completely shut down across Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, will come back online has also been hanging over the country and its energy industry.

However, sources including Dr Hiroshi Matsukawa of Tokyo-based analysts RTS PV told PV Tech earlier in the year that due to concerted efforts to clear the backlog of approved projects, construction of projects is expected to continue apace in the immediate future. 

Matsukawa was confident in May that PV projects would continue to be built in significant quantities but the post-FiT era, which is looming over the horizon in 2020, is considered a “pressing concern”. Meanwhile the possibility also exists that the forthcoming review of the FiT scheme could involve wide-ranging changes to support mechanisms. Mika Ohbayashi, director of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF), told PV Tech this morning that this could include a switch to a system akin to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme which will soon be introduced in the United Kingdom. 

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 16, 2022
The US Government has appealed against the reinstatement of an exemption from Section 201 tariffs for bifacial modules.
January 14, 2022
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a “Building a Better Grid” initiative to catalyse the development of “new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines” across the US under President Joe Biden’s US$1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
January 14, 2022
Module manufacturer and energy solutions company Q CELLS has entered into a strategic partnership with development and financing firm Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure (KSI) to collaborate on project co-development and financing.
PV Tech Premium
January 14, 2022
Raising more than US$1 billion in equity capital in the past year, US independent power producer (IPP) Silicon Ranch is looking to expand its model of developing, owning and operating large-scale PV plants while maintaining a strategy of co-locating projects with regenerative agriculture.
January 14, 2022
SMA Solar has cut its earnings forecast for the year by more than half pending a contract issue affecting its operations and maintenance business.  
January 14, 2022
Changzhou Better Film plans to invest RMB800 million (US$125 million) into establishing 20GW of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) production in the Chinese city of Chuzhou.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal