KYOTO, Japan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO)(TOKYO:6971) announced that Kyocera TCL Solar LLC, its joint venture with Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, has begun operation of a 2.4 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. The Takamatsu Ikushima Mega Solar Plant is the first to be launched under the company’s business plan to operate up to 35 small- to mid-size utility-scale solar power plants in Japan. A ceremony marking the start of the plant’s operation was held on July 25th with representatives from the local community and related companies.
This month marks one year since the launch of Japan’s restructured feed-in-tariff (FIT) for solar power generation, which has stimulated such demand for industrial-use solar power generating systems that Japan is now poised to surpass Germany this year as the world’s largest solar market*1.
In response to this growing demand, Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing established Kyocera TCL Solar LLC last year, with Century Tokyo Leasing as the main shareholder. Under the new company’s business model, Century Tokyo Leasing finances solar projects with Kyocera supplying 100% of the solar modules, system construction and ongoing maintenance.
In addition to the Takamatsu Ikushima Mega Solar Plant, ten similar projects are already under construction or in the planning stages. Five of these ten plants will have capacities less than 2MW, thus eliminating the cost of high-voltage transmission lines. Including these plants, the company plans to undertake up to 35 projects within two years — all small- to mid-size utility-scale power plants, which can be constructed faster than larger utility-scale installations. The plants’ cumulative capacity of approximately 60 to 70MW will represent the power requirement of about 20,000 local households*2. All electricity generated will be sold to utilities through Japan’s FIT system.
Kyocera’s sales of industrial solar modules, notably for mega-solar projects, have increased rapidly since the launch of Japan’s new FIT in July 2012. The company expects its Japan-market shipments of industrial solar modules to grow 250 percent in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 (FY2014) compared with FY2013. Amid this continuing strong demand, the company plans to ship more than one gigawatt (1GW) of solar modules worldwide in FY2014, an increase of 25% from 800MW in FY2013.
Kyocera began researching solar energy in 1975, and has expanded its solar energy-related business to include not only the production and supply of solar modules, but also the construction and operation of solar power plants in Japan. Furthermore, Kyocera also markets lithium-ion batteries and Home Energy Management Systems (HEMs) which contribute to greater efficiency of energy use in the home. This business development has been driven by the company’s strong awareness of the importance of renewable energy and hope to utilize solar energy for the protection of the environment. Based on its comprehensive strength, Kyocera will aim to further expand its energy business, helping to facilitate a low-carbon society.
*1 Market scale based on revenue. Source: IHS iSuppli (June 2013)
*2 Based on an annual use of 3,500kWh per household.
Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO)(TOKYO:6971) (http://global.kyocera.com/), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine ceramics (also known as “advanced ceramics”). By combining these engineered materials with metals and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of solar power generating systems, mobile phones, printers, copiers, electronic components, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2013, the company’s net sales totaled 1.28 trillion yen (approx. USD13.6 billion). The company is ranked #492 on Forbes magazine’s 2013 “Global 2000” listing of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.