Japan's Kyocera sees PV payback

Kyocera’s group net profit roughly tripled in the first quarter to ¥22.7bn ($227.6m) from ¥6.6bn a year earlier, as strong solar sales in Japan offset general sluggishness in its consumer electronics business.

Sales at the company’s Applied Ceramic products division – which makes PV cells and modules, among other items – jumped to ¥61.5bn from ¥42.6bn in the first quarter of 2012.

It said that the division’s operating profit rose “significantly” due to the strength of its solar business.

Kyocera does not disclose specific sales figures for its solar business, and a company spokesperson declined to reveal quarterly shipment data when contacted by Recharge.

However, the Kyoto-based electronics group attributed the strong performance of its solar operations to steady demand for residential, commercial and utility-scale projects in Japan, driven by the country’s feed-in tariff (FIT).

Kyocera's group net sales rose 11.4% to ¥331.7bn. It left its sales and profit outlook unchanged for the current fiscal year, partly because "demand for solar power generating systems is projected to continue rising in Japan,” both in the residential and utility-scale segments.

Sales at its Applied Ceramics division soared 18% to ¥211.4bn ($2.14bn) in the financial year ending March. In June, it won an ¥8.5bn yen ($89.2m) contract to deliver 30MW of PV panels for installation at 80 sites throughout Japan, under a venture run by Mitsubishi and an agricultural cooperative.