Panasonic aims to be leader in home market

Panasonic has laid down the gauntlet to rivals Sharp and Kyocera as it aims to become the leading solar firm in the reinvigorated Japanese market.

LONDON: The company, which entered the solar business with a splash in late 2009 via its majority purchase of Sanyo, has set 1 July as the launch date for its eagerly awaited HIT-215 Series Home Solar System. It is the first time the companies have collaborated on a product.

Panasonic has put HIT-215 at the heart of its strategy to become the world's leading integrator of photovoltaic and energy-saving technologies within homes and buildings.

Using Sanyo's solar panels and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and Panasonic's energy-management technologies, the system gives homeowners an unprecedented level of control over their energy consumption and carbon emissions.

It will be sold through 18,000 stores across Japan for ´156,450 ($1,700) per panel. Eventually it will be rolled out globally.

Panasonic's holistic solar strategy is in stark contrast to Chinese firms' focus on commoditising wafers, cells and modules.

"You will be living with virtually zero carbon emissions through creating, saving, storing and managing energy," says Panasonic vice-president Toshihiro Sakamoto.

He says his company's ambition is to overtake Sharp and Kyocera within the Japanese solar market by 2012, with plans to increase domestic market share from 20% to 35%.

Last year, Sharp, the world's third-largest module maker, held 40% of the domestic market, followed by Kyocera with 26.5%, according to researcher RTS.