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Japanese Conglomerate Panasonic gives up on Solar Energy

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During the early parts of the century, Japanese companies such as Sanyo, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi along with Sharp were the dominant manufacturers of solar products globally due to the early growth of the Japanese solar market. These companies with their traditional technology strengths easily entered the solar industry and till now were the leaders in developing high-end solar cell technology. But the advent of the Chinese industry with their super low costs and massive billion-dollar funding by the Chinese government, the Japanese rapidly lost market share and many of them say their solar business declined rapidly.

Companies such as Sanyo sold themselves to others while Sharp also saw its entire business come under pressure from SE Asian competitors in the electronics industry. Panasonic was the only large Japanese company to have a decent-sized solar cell and panel manufacturing and had opened plants in Malaysia to lower its overall costs even as it shut down plants at expensive locations in Europe and Japan. However, Panasonic is finally giving up on manufacturing as it is unable to run a large profitable business given the relentless growth of the Chinese solar majors who have become too huge to catch up with other competitors.

Also, read the list of Solar Companies By Country

The company sold off its Malaysian facilities to a Chinese company GS-Solar last year similar to other western companies such as REC which sold off their facilities in Asia to other large Chinese solar companies. Panasonic had last year taken over Tesla’s solar production facilities in the USA after the company was unable to profitably runs the solar subsidiary that it had bought. However, the USA factory of Panasonic-Tesla was not able to profitably sell solar cells and panels to the USA market because Tesla has not really made much headway in selling its solar roofs products. Tesla has also rapidly lost market share in the solar installation business as the company focuses mainly on its electric vehicle business which has been seeing massive growth along with battery manufacturing.

Panasonic was being forced to sell its solar cells and panels from the USA factory to non-USA markets. Given the high-cost structure of the USA factory, Panasonic was losing money be exporting solar production from the USA to other markets. Now the company has reportedly stopped production of solar cells and panels in the USA factory


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

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