Kyocera reaps solar FIT reward

Kyoto-based electronics group Kyocera said it is reaping the rewards of Japan’s solar feed-in tariff (FIT).

Kyocera told investors that sales at its applied ceramics division – which makes PV cells and modules – jumped by 18% to ¥211.4bn ($2.14bn) in the financial year ending March.

It attributed the spike in PV demand to a flood of residential installations and utility-scale projects since the July 2012 introduction of the FIT.

The extra demand was “due primarily to significant solar energy business sales in Japan”, Kyocera said in a statement. 

Kyocera does not give detailed figures for its solar operation, but according to local reports the company shipped 800MW of modules, and expects to boost that by a quarter in the current 2014 financial year.

The Japanese government this month cut its solar FIT by 10% to ¥37.8 ($0.40) per kWh, although this is unlikely to dent the strong momentum PV has built up. More than 1.3GW of solar was added in Japan between last April and January this year, according to recent figures.

In contrast to its domestic performance, Kyocera’s American subsidiary said this week that it would cut 23 jobs and 85 temporary positions at its plant in San Diego, California, due to weak demand for its US-made PV panels.

The company also has module assembly plants in Tianjin in China, Tijuana in Mexico, and the Czech Republic.