Kyocera is one of the world’s largest vertically-integrated producers and suppliers of solar energy products. Kyocera makes all components for its solar modules in its own manufacturing facilities and thus avoids having to buy in any intermediate products. This starts with the processing of raw materials and continues through cell production to module assembly. Production processes in the company’s own factories are subject to precise observation, analysis and continuous optimization. Only through such a procedure is the company able to systematically continue development on the product classes from the KD series with 36, 48 and 60 cells.
Reported by Jeanny H. Lim
What do you see as the trends and market forces driving PV technology in the second half of 2011?
The market will be characterized by oversupply. Also in the beginning of the second half, not all manufacturers will have been able to reduce their inventories. Moreover, new production capacities are built up especially in China.
How are PV prices expected to develop in the second half?
Due to the new design of FiT structures all over Europe, the target of grid parity is getting closer.
Where do you put your focus this year, in terms of business growth and technology development?
We will focus on a tandem of new product development (higher output power but same module dimensions) paired with Kyocera’s commitment to high quality.
With uncertainty circling the funding of PV systems in countries around the world, what challenges are market participants facing and what are the potential solutions?
The biggest challenge, certainly, for all market players is the increase of the price pressure. The reduction of the FiT naturally means that the prices have to somehow go down. That’s the big pressure on the whole industry, which is ultimately good because it’s driving the industry to further develop new technology. But that is a big challenge because the FiT reduction is quite a lot if we talk about like 20~30% within one year. Only strong companies will survive this direction on the long term. So we do see this price competition will lead to sooner or later the reduction of players in the market.
At the end of the day, a company needs to survive by being healthy. So, a company has to be able to make a profit. That is only possible with the right cost structure and right products. Then again, we believe high-quality products will survive in the long run as the solar industry customers will understand and learn the difference in quality between products because the installations need to last 20 to 30 years. From our point of view, there is a little bit too much simple-calculation on the return on investment at the moment in the whole market. We believe the customers are in the process of understanding what a quality brand is and who a quality company is to rely on even after 5, 10 and 20 years. So, a long-term strategy of quality and reliable partnership is what we think as the solution to survival in the market and that is what we have been doing for more than 30 years in solar.
Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to email@example.com.
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