Japanese electronics firm Kyocera Corporation has said that steeper than expected PV module price declines in Japan, coupled to a halt in grid access applications by many utilities, led to solar sales declining in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Kyocera said that within its solar energy business sales decreased in the first nine months of the year, compared with the previous year, despite efforts to expand its PV module product range and reduce overall costs. 

Module price declines were said to have impacted margins within its Applied Ceramic Products Group, which houses its PV module business unit. 

The weakness in sales were said to have resulted in the company lowering its overall sales forecast for the financial year. 

Kyocera’s Applied Ceramic Products Group reported sales for the first nine months of the year of ¥189,333 million (US$1.6 billion), down 3.3% from the previous year period. 

The business segment reported an operating profit of ¥9,570 million (US$81.2 million), a 58.1% decrease from the prior year period. 

The company also noted that overall group sales in Japan fell in the first nine months of the financial year, compared to the previous year as a result of solar energy business stagnation and weaker sales within its Telecommunications Equipment Group. 

Sales within its Applied Ceramic Products Group for Q3 were ¥64,619 million (US$548.7 million), a decline of 8.9% from the previous quarter. 

Kyocera guided that its Applied Ceramic Products Group sales for the full financial year would down around 1% from the previous year at around 273,000 million Yen, compared to 303,000 million Yen in the prior year. 

However, the price declines for PV modules would result in the Applied Ceramic Products Group operating profit down around 70.2%, compared with the previous year.