First Solar Announces 250 MW Worth Of New Projects In Japan

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250 MW of new solar PV projects are currently being developed in Japan by First Solar, according to recent reports.

The company is reportedly expecting its rooftop sector in the country to eventually grow to be even larger than its commercial-scale segment — with some of the new projects being the first step towards that eventuality. Part of the purpose of the transition is to position itself better for future trends.

Image Credit: First Solar
Image Credit: First Solar


Part of the reason for the recent expansions in the Japanese market are down to the country’s strong incentives for renewable energy sources. With the specter of Fukushima still hanging around, it’s no surprise that the country appears to be looking more towards renewables now than in the past.

“Our strategy in Japan is to develop projects, make investments in utility-scale projects, manage the construction phase and also do operation and management over the long term,” stated Karl Brutsaert, a director of business development for First Solar, in an interview with Bloomberg.

The Tempe, Arizona-based company, which currently relies on North America for almost all its revenue, set up an office in Tokyo in November and has been working with local partners to build solar stations of various sizes, he said.

The company has announced it will invest about $100 million to develop solar projects in Japan. Its first plant — a 1.3 MW station in the southwestern city of Kitakyushu — started running in March. Japan’s solar market is booming after the country introduced a feed-in tariff program in July 2012 to promote clean energy after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Brutsaert noted that, given the greatly limited nature of suitable space for large-scale plants in Japan, rooftop solar was likely to see substantial growth in the coming years.

“That segment will grow and will be larger than mega solar in Japan. We are really positioning ourselves for the long-term picture.”

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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