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Toshiba acquiring,investing in Green Companies (Landis & Gyr,Unison) as Nuclear Energy faces Fukushima Winter

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Japanese Nuclear Giant Toshiba which is the second largest seller of complex nuclear equipment globally is looking to shift its focus towards Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.The company is already facing delays in shipping nuclear reactors to customers as the Fukushima Disaster makes governments around the world rethink their nuclear power ambitions.The Nuclear Energy Disadvantages are winning over the Advantages currently in public sentiment.Toshiba which acquired US Westinghouse has a target of selling 39 nuclear reactors which is getting delayed.With advanced nuclear power countries like Germany,Switzerland and Japan killing nuclear energy,the going looks tough for Toshiba.The company was already facing tough competition from the GE-Hitachi and Areva as well as new players from South Korea and China in the nuclear equipment market.

Toshiba acquiring Green Companies

Nuclear Energy is facing slowdown even from countries like China which has the largest growth planned for nuclear energy .Even India is facing tough opposition in building new nuclear power plants (Jaitapur).With the winds clearly turning against nuclear energy which was already facing a slow death in developer countries,Toshiba has started to make acquisitions in the Clean Technology industry.The company has bought Landis&Gyr which is one of the biggest  global smart meter manufacturers.The company has also bought a stake in South Korean Wind Company Unison.

Toshiba Solar Plans

Toshiba the Japanese Giant known for its Global Leadership in Nuclear Power Equipment,Electronics and Memory Businesses has decided to become a big player in  the Solar EPC business as well.This strategy is quite different from the other global conglomerates entering the Solar Energy Field.It is already in the process of building a 10 MW plant in Bulgaria and plans to generate around  $2 Billion Dollars annually from US and Europe by 2015.

Competition in the Nuclear Equipment Market Increasing

The Nuclear Equipment Industry is seeing intensifying competition with the entry of the Chinese and the South Koreans.While Nuclear Energy Market in the Developed World has hit a Virtual Wall,the Emerging Markets are still growing strongly.China and India are the biggest growth markets with other smaller nascent markets like Vietnam,UAE,East Europe and others.The fight between the Great Powers like Russia,USA,Japan has intensified for a piece of this lucrative market.Russia state owned Rosatom is leaving no stone unturned to garner a bigger marketshare of the Nuclear Equipment Market.It is using its vertically integrated model right from supplying uranium raw material to waste disposal to penetrate European Markets.

Japanese Giant Companies already making huge investments into Green Energy

Most of the Japanese companies are making huge investments into the Green Energy Space.Here is a list of Japanese companies in Solar Energy.

1) Sharp – Sharp,the Japanese Zaibatsu known more for its Electronics Products is also the world’s No 1 Company in terms Solar Module Revenues.Sharp has been the solar world leader since the past 4-5 years despite stiff competition recently  from upcoming Chinese Crystalline Solar (c-Si) players and Thin Film Leader First Solar

Sharp’s c-Si division is not cost competitive with the Chinese and Taiwanese companies as its cost structure is almost 30-40% higher than the cheapest Chinese producers.Though the quality of Sharp’s crystalline silicon modules is considered much better,the cost difference has become too big in a rapidly commoditizing industry

While companies like Masdar are abandoning their Thin Film plans,Sharp has started shipping a-Si modules from its 1 GW capacity  plant in Sakai.With its established distribution strengths and technological abilities in LCD Technology,Sharp is one company that can survive the c-Si onslaught.

2) Sanyo-Panasonic  – Sanyo plans to invest more than  70% of its total investment over the next  3 years in its renewable energy and energy storage segments.Sanyo has never been as successful in the hyper competitive electronics market as other Japanese companies like Sony or Sharp.However its lithium batteries and solar panels possess cutting edge technology.Its solar panels with proprietary HIT technology rival the best  in terms of efficiency and quality.

Panasonic after acquiring Sanyo has completely changed its strategy to become a major Green Player targeting a Major Percentage of Sales in the future to come  from Green Products.Panasonic which is the world’s biggest Plasma TV producer is going to spend $1 Billion on Green Building investments.Panasonic will combine its Green Strengths with Sanyo’s to sell a complete Eco-Friendly Home complete with Solar Power,LED Lighting and Energy Storage and Efficiency capabilities.In Solar where Panasonic  is the No. 3 player in Japan behind Sharp and Kyocera ,it is speeding up the expansion of solar capacity.It will spend more than $500 million aiming to triple its energy solutions business in Europe to 800 Million Euros by 2016.

3) Kyocera – Kyocera is Japan’s second largest solar panel producing company.The company recently won a major contract to build a solar farm in Thailand.Unlike other companies it has been slow off the blocks and unless  it perks up its game,it is likey to become a even smaller company in the global scheme of things.

4) Mitsubishi – Mistubishi is another old time Japanese solar company which has a low profile solar module and system business.The company is known for its high quality panels and has a decent presence in USA and Japan.However like Kyocera it has not been aggressive enough leading to loss in marketshare.

5) Mitsui – Mitsui Engineering and Shipping,one of Japan’s huge zaibatsus is planning a foray into the solar energy market as well.The Company is being supported in its initiative by METI which will collaborate with the Tunisian government in setting up a combined gas solar hybrid plant.A 5 MW Solar CSP plant will be set up by 2013 to demonstrate the technology.The company also owns a solar system business in the US after acquiring Sunwize

6) Toshiba – Toshiba the Japanese Giant known for its Global Leadership in Nuclear Power Equipment,Electronics and Memory Businesses has decided to become a big player in  the Solar EPC business.This strategy is quite different from the other global conglomerates entering the Solar Energy Field.South Korean Players like Samsung,LG,Hanwha and Hyundai are all building Crystalline Silicon Modules.Toshiba wants to enter the Smart Grid business by leveraging its experiece of the Solar EPC business.It is already in the process of building a 10 MW plant in Bulgaria and plans to generate around  $2 Billion Dollars annually from US and Europe by 2015

7) Honda – Honda,the Japanese auto giant has also joined the Solar Energy Race by selling Thin Film Modules based on CIGs technology.Japan’s conglomerates like Sharp,Kyocera,Mitsubishi and Panasonic already have big solar manufacturing operations with Sharp being the largest Solar Company in the World.Honda which has a small presence in the Solar Energy through its subsidiary Honda Soltec is expanding its lines of modules for the domestic market.

8 ) Solar Frontier – Solar Frontier is a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu and is listed on the Japanese Stock Exchange.The Company has big plans for the Solar Energy Market planning to increase its capacity by more than 10 times in 2011 to around 1 Gw in total.All its 3 plants are located in Miyazaki in Japan and uses previous plasma plant of Hitachi.Solar Frontier claims 11.5% efficiency for its CIS modules which are expected to go upto 14% by 2014It has signed a distribution deal with GE to sells its Copper Indium Selenide (CIS) Panels in USA

Toshiba cautious on nuclear sales, eyes renewables

Toshiba Corp said it may not reach its target of 39 orders for nuclear reactors until 2-3 years later than expected, and that it would increase focus on renewables and smart grids as the crisis rumbles on at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.Orders for four AP1000 reactors in China are on target, but approval delays in the United States and other countries could delay by 2-3 years the firm’s goal to expand nuclear sales to 1 trillion yen ($12.2 billion) and 39 reactor orders by March 2016, Sasaki said.He added that the company’s direct checks with customers had not yet found any planning to change their orders.It now targets sales of 350 billion yen in solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind power technologies, 900 billion yen in smart grid products and 800 billion yen in low-power consumption motors, inverters and batteries.On Monday, Toshiba announced an alliance with South Korean wind power firm Unison Co. The Japanese firm will buy some 3 billion yen in Unison convertible bonds as the first step of the deal and the Nikkei newspaper reported it would raise its stake to about 30 percent in about a year.


Abhishek Shah

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