Japanese solar module maker Kyocera has announced that it will begin supplying a monocrystalline panel to the Japanese residential rooftop solar market.

According to the company, this will make Kyocera the only manufacturer to mass produce both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules in Japan.

Kyocera also claims that the monocrystalline modules it has brought forward for commercialisation will hit 22% conversion efficiency, up from their current efficiency of 19%, “within the next few years”.

The company has added the monocrystalline modules to its range of offerings in response to high demand for rooftop solar in Japan. Recently announced feed-in tariff (FiT) rates in the country dropped more sharply for large scale projects than for residential rooftop generation. Rooftop FiTs are likely to drop by only 2.6% from last year, while large scale projects will receive around 11% per kWh less than last year, with the new rates scheduled to take effect from 1 April, the beginning of Japan's financial year.

Additionally, the company claims to have broken its own record efficiency for polycrystalline cells, set in December 2011. The industry record 17.8% that was measured then has been smashed as the company claims it has now hit a conversion efficiency of 18.6% for mass produced polycrystalline cells. Kyocera says efficiency gains were achieved through “the enhancement of crystal quality, improvement in the electrode process and reduction of carrier recombination.”

At present the new modules, both poly- and monocrystalline will only be sold in the Japanese market, with the ‘improved’ polycrystalline cells expected to go on sale in summer.