The Chinese solar giant Suntech is aiming to install about 1 GW of new solar PV generation capacity in Japan during the next 3 years, according to an economic journal in Japan known as Nikkei Keizai Shimbun.
As part of the journal’s coverage, an interview with Suntech’s Eric Luo was quoted, in which Luo stated that this project pipeline could need as much as $2.5 billion in investment — most of which would come via banks.
Most of the projects in this pipeline are expected to be of the large utility-scale solar farm type, with power then being provided to the country’s utilities at the rates stated under the country’s feed-in tariff program.
Along with that push towards the Japanese market, Suntech has also begun stronger moves toward the European market — with plans in place to install 900 MW in the UK by the end of 2015.
With such a large push toward utility-scale projects, Suntech’s actions appear to be mirroring the wider switch in the Japanese market from a rooftop-solar-heavy market to a utility-scale-heavy one.
According to the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, the first quarter of 2014 saw rooftop solar modules fall to 86% of what they were in the same period in 2013, while non-residential solar modules shipped in the first quarter of 2014 rose considerably, to about 162% of what they were in Q1 2013.
Those trends are expected to continue along their path for the next few years.
In related news, Suntech has also begun eyeing the potentially very lucrative Brazilian, Mexican, and Chilean markets, according to reports. With the great potential inherent in these relatively undeveloped — but solar-resource-heavy — markets, the interest is hardly surprising.
Given the issues that Suntech has had in recent years, it’ll be interesting to see if it can rebuild itself to a position of market dominance once again.
Image Credit: Suntech