ENVIRONMENT | Staff Reporter, Japan

Major rise in solar cell sales in Japan

Leading Japanese solar cell makers report mixed results for the year ended March 31.

Sales of solar cells in Japan rose 32% year-on-year to 1,404 megawatts on the back of strong demand from home owners, said the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association.

On the other hand, solar cell exports in fell by 13% from a year ago to 1,281 MW. Exports fell 53% to 163 MW from January to March. Imported solar panels accounted for 22% of shipments in 2011/12.

Sales from January to March rose 38% from a year earlier to 391.5 MW helped by subsidies to encourage home owners to install solar panels.

In July, Japan will introduce a new feed-in tariff that will compel electric utilities pay US$0.52 per kilowatt hour for solar power supplies. The generous rate is expected to encourage business investors to enter the market.

The association includes major Japanese solar panel makers such as Sharp Corporation, Kyocera Corporation, Panasonic Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and foreign makers.



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