Bookmark and Share

Japanese solar companies continue to shrink in the global market for solar panels

0 Comment

The Fall of Japanese Solar companies

Japanese solar companies such as Sharp, Mitsubishi, Kyocera and Panasonic used to rule the solar market in the last decade. These companies had better technology and the advantage of a large domestic market in Japan. However, with the boom in the European market and the entry of the Chinese solar panel companies, Japanese companies have frittered away their advantage. They were never able to effectively compete with the lower cost Chinese companies. Even Korean and Taiwanese companies became bigger than the Japanese giants, who were too slow to react to rapidly changing market conditions. It is a story similar to what has happened across most electronic sectors, where Japanese companies have lost out to more nimble Korean companies.

Read more about Japanese Solar Panel Companies.

Sharp which used to the biggest solar panel maker in terms of revenues till a couple of years ago, has been fighting bankruptcy fears. It has posted humongous losses and is being kept afloat by Japanese banks. The company is in advanced stages of being bought over by Taiwanese company Foxconn. As it is, Sharp has sold off its non-Japanese solar operations a couple of years ago and now is losing revenues in the Japanese market. Other Japanese companies such as Kycoera and Panasonic are reporting lower revenues, as the Japanese solar boom starts to taper off with a reduction in growth. Japanese companies are not at all competitive in any other market except Japan, which has a non-explicit bias towards home grown companies. Even in booming markets like Japan, the Japanese companies have failed to make a mark. Despite a great brand and good technology, these companies are run by bureaucracies, which are not tough enough to compete in highly competitive global market spaces such as solar panels.

Panasonic is thinking about shutting off it 345 MW solar cell plant in Nishikinohama as the cost of the production is too high. Note Panasonic produces high efficiency solar cells using the n-type monocrystalline technology similar to Sunpower. However, the cost of production is too high to allow Panasonic to sell except in a few niche market. The company which is banking on selling integrated solar energy + energy efficiency homes, is finding it tough to run Japanese factories. It has recently set up a large Malaysian factory which should keep running. Japan as a solar manufacturing destination seems to be a dead idea, with only a few factories running now.

Japan Times

Panasonic Corp. will suspend operations at one of its solar cell plants for several months amid falling demand for household solar panels, company officials said Tuesday.

The company will stop production at the Nishikinohama solar cell factory in Kaizuka in Osaka Prefecture from the end of February to the end of October. The workforce will be temporarily dismissed.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

No Responses so far | Have Your Say!