PV Expo Day One: Welcome to Japan

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PV Expo got underway in Tokyo, Japan, today. The vast show covers every aspect of the industry – and several interrelated ones.

Much of it is aimed straight back at the domestic market, with local developers vying for attention and O&M services for Japan-based megasolar on offer, to give just two examples.

However, while some of the show is what might be described as uniquely Japanese in catering for a domestic market that was in past times considered a closed shop, there are many international companies also visiting and exhibiting, and overall there is a sense that solar knowledge, experience and business can comfortably exist outside the narrow confines of any one country.

This meeting of technologies and cultures, as well as some novel attempts at brand differentiation by the Japanese domestic market players, also provide for some interesting photo opportunities.

Wonderful, wacky and weird

Some of the highlights from day one of PV Expo. All photos by the author.

PV Tech gets a traditional Japanese welcome
A local maker demonstrates its PV panel-cleaning robots
Increasingly popular at solar trade shows the world over are model villages of the future; in this case presented by ZTT Solar
Drones - not just for killing and delivering boxsets, but now also overseeing utility-scale PV plant operations, it seems
Local module producer Looop showcases the hardiness of its products, although while PV Tech was nearby no one, least of all your correspondent’s keen right foot, was invited to put it to the test with a penalty kick
Canadian Solar presents power conditioners as well as its modules, aimed at the domestic market
Another table-top model beloved, this time showing solar development in peaceful coexistence with agriculture, something that becomes ever more a viable option as the amount of available single-use land for utility-scale solar diminishes in Japan
The recently merged Hanwah Q Cells/Hanwha Solar One booth shows the two companies’ branding side by side
Not long ago acquired by US residential giant SolarCity, mounting systems company Zep Solar’s product display heavily emphasises its partnership with the solar development division of Japanese trading company, Marubeni. As has often been noted by Japanese sources in the industry, partnership with Japanese companies is an established way for new entrants to gain a foothold here
Toyota was among several Japanese makers showcasing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) at the Fuel Cell Expo, co-located with the PV show (and several other related shows). According to Dr Christopher Hebling of Fraunhofer ISE, who PV Tech spoke to at the event, Japan has by far the most ambitious programme for hydrogen fuel cells in the world.
Another novel display shows a robotic ladybird spraying and wiping solar panels clean
Sharp showcases its residential energy solutions with a mixture of traditional and space-age branding
26 May 2021
Tara Doyle and Tristan Erion-Lorico of PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), will share this year’s top-performing modules and discuss key findings from PVEL’s PQP testing. Join us to explore which find out which new Top Performer category can affect project value by more than $100,000 – and which test resulted in >20% degradation.
15 June 2021
Looking at the drivers and dynamics of utility scale solar in the UK over the next five years. This event will consider the immediate challenges as we enter the build phase in the UK market where we could see as much as 3GW deployed in 2021 alone! What developments will continue the growth of 100MW+ sites and what impact will government policy have on the rate of deployment in the UK? Join leading developers and manufacturers shaping the direction of one of Europe’s most active markets and hear from speakers with a history of influencing innovation and change.
6 July 2021
Explore in depth the opportunities of the different countries via case studies, business and financial models that will foster growth in the region with particular focus on Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia & Vietnam.
13 July 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
24 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. You'll find out which companies are investing and what technologies and cell architectures are being primed for multi-GW production and gather key market intel around wafer supplier trends for cell manufacturing, including which format/wafer-size is likely to dominate 3-5 years out.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.

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