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Japan’s Solar Market Continues to Grow

The domestic solar market in Japan is growing at a substantial rate. This year alone, between July and September, the shipment of solar cells by semiconductor suppliers within the country more than tripled compared to the previous year. An additional statistic to note is that domestic shipments from semiconductor suppliers in the first half of this fiscal year were almost equal to the entire fiscal year before it, which is outstanding.
Due to the demand for solar cells, the Okinawa Prefecture, encompassing hundreds of Ryukyu Islands, is beginning to reach its limits in regards to generation of solar PV. To help remedy the problem while continuing to meet high demand, energy storage is being explored. However, not all areas are producing solar cells at such high levels. For example, many of the mega-solar power plants of Japan are producing only a portion of their authorized output. The slowed production can be due to any number of reasons from grid interconnection complexities to lack of funding, which may lead to cancellations of approval for developers. This is something that the Japanese government and organizations, such as the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, should further explore as the potential for solar markets is much greater when the solar power plants are performing at their peak levels.

While solar energy is of huge interest to Japan and semiconductor suppliers, domestically and internationally, there is another energy source that is gaining momentum: nuclear. After the Fukushima disaster of 2011, nuclear power plants were immediately shutdown, which is one of the reasons that solar energy and other renewable options have gained footing; however, nuclear energy as a power source has begun to reappear after the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Although the previous administration planned to rid the country of nuclear power by 2040, Abe’s government is exploring the use of nuclear power with additional safety and cost measures. According to the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, however, these safety and cost measures will actually greatly increase the cost of nuclear power, reducing any potential savings.

While there is a lot of uncertainty in Japan over the future energy sources of its country, the solar market is currently holding very strong. If you are a business within the solar market, consider improving your operations to meet current demand with high quality products from Shin-Etsu MicroSi, a world-class semiconductor supplier. Shin-Etsu MicroSi offers a number of products, including lithography, photomasks, pellicles, and quartz wafers and substrates. To learn more about how our products and services can help you to better serve your customers, call Shin-Etsu MicroSi at (480) 893-8898 or contact us online.