Tag: Japan

Solar panels go through the roof

solarsA report said that total global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will be 498 gigawatts in 2019, a 177 percent increase over capacity in 2014.

IHS said that last year the market became supply driven. That trend will continue until 2019 when the use rate of module projection will exceed the peak usage rate in 2010. That is when the global market really started to soar.

As this chart from IHS shows, China leads the pack in using solar panels, followed by Japan, the USA, the UK, Germany and India.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 11.03.43

And there’s good news if you’re in the mood to buy, because the average selling prices of standard modules will fall by 27 percent between 2015 and 2019.

Thin film modules aren’t experiencing stellar growth patterns, but IHS believes that this year market share for those will be around seven percent.

That market share is likely to remain at around seven percent between now and 2019.


Sharp Display will remain independent

keep-calm-and-stay-sharp-5Sharp has given up on an idea which would see it merging its troubled display business with rival Japan Display.

Apparently the company has a technological advantage over its competitors so it makes sense to keep going.

Norikazu Hohshi, the head of Sharp’s device business ,told reporters at a briefing that looking at its  overall display business he believed it should be on its own.

Sharp is due to post its third annual net loss in four years, hurt by aggressive competition from its rival and weaker-than-expected Chinese smartphone demand.

That is not to say that Sharp has not got a cunning plan to pull its nadgers out of the fire. Apparently executives are compiling a new business plan and considering investing in new nadger pulling equipment.

Chief Executive Kozo Takahashi met with officials from its main lenders Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ last Thursday, although he did not request specific amounts or make promises about restructuring.

The difficulty is that Sharp is really short of cash and may need help.

The banks agreed in September 2012 to rescue Sharp with loans and credit lines worth 360 billion yen, or $3 billion at today’s exchange rates, in exchange for promises to return to the black by this year.

Sharp then exited the European TV market and closed solar-panel businesses in Europe and the United States. However things do not appear to have become any better,

Kyocera floats solar panels

solarsJapanese giant Kyocera said it is cooperating with Ciel et Terre to create what it claims will be the world’s largest floating solar panel power plant.

Kyocera, which makes ceramic knives as well as solar panels and a heap of other kit, said construction will start this month on two installations on lakes in Japan.  One planned for Nishihira Pond will generate 1.7MW while the other at Higashihira Pond will churn out 1.2MW.

The companies have turned to floating installations because of shortage of space on terra firma in Japan.  But there are many reservoirs throughout the country which can be used for floating power plants.

The floating solar platforms were developed and patented by French company Ciel et Terre.

Plants on water have the advantage that they generate more juice than ground mounted and rooftop systems because they are cooled by water.  They also have the benefit of reducing reservoir evaporation and preventing algae growth.  The platforms are recyclable and the floating platforms are designed to withstand typhoons.

Nokia buys a bit of Panasonic

panasonicThe bit of Nokia, which is not busy merging with Microsoft, has just written a cheque for a slice of Panasonic’s electronics business.

The former rubber boot maker, which sold off its phone unit said it will buy Panasonic’s mobile phone wireless base station system business for operators as well as related wireless equipment system business.

No one is saying how much Nokia paid for it but the company expects to have completed the transaction by early 2015.

Nokia made 5.5 billion euros when it sold its phone division to Microsoft three months ago. Meanwhile Nokia has been buying up other businesses such as the Chicago-based SAC Wireless.

Japan is one of the new Nokia’s most important mobile network market areas and it controls a quarter of the Japanese market. This acquisition will bring that up to about one third.

Rauhala suggests that while this is not a “giant deal”, it is probably worth tens of millions of euros.

Panasonic is short of cash at the moment and needs the readies.



Carnegie: US PC imports stumble

pc-sales-slumpAccording to an analyst note from Carnegie, world chip sales are likely to be largely untouched between the June to July – at one percent seasonally adjusted month by month – and $24.9 for the month.

A May spike could have been thanks to Samsung’s latest Galaxy handsets, but a drop in June could be down to clearing previous inventories of previous phone and PC models ahead of new launches.

Carnegie’s early indicator for the three month moving average of chip sales for July suggests a “modest improvement slightly better than the normal seasonal pattern”.

Korean chip exports were better throughout July and August compared to June levels. Other tech production in South Korea was on the up after a long slump post the Q4 iPhone and iPad boom.

Taiwanese production improved over July thanks to electronic components and parts, however, overall it was held back by a weakness in high end smartphones and a drop in TV manufacturing.

Japan has been losing market share in semiconductors to other countries in the APAC region, in particular China and Vietnam. A sharp drop in chip segments was noted for Japan, with Carnegie adding an overall drop in Japanase consumer electronics market share and less production in Japan likely contributed.

Carnegie estimates world semiconductor sales will drop by one percent for the year.

Carnegie warned that US PC imports have been weak since March – and that the numbers could include tablet computers. Meanwhile, retail sales are sluggish for tech categories. Some of this is attributed to shopping patterns, as internet sales replaced buying through brick and mortar stores.

US inventory levels for electronics fell sharply, with leading retailers like Best Buy slashing their stock.

For the US telecom enterprise sector, it is expected that imports are flat, including Ericsson and Cisco equipment. Although the July numbers are not in, May and June imports were weak after a spike in April.


Panasonic announces job cuts

seppuku-p1000701Panasonic has announced that 5,000 of its staff will be axed over the next three years.

The Japanese company has said those in its automotive and industrial units will fall on Panasonic’s sword as the company scales back its operations and tries to recoup huge annual losses of $7.5 billion, announced in March.

According to Channel News Asia, the company, which has already cut 20 percent of its workers will now move to slash its staff of around 111,000 people by March 2016. The move is part of an overall strategy to recover its business after a flagging year.

In March, rumours circulated that the company would further salvage its business by cutting its plasma business over the next three years.

It is thought Panasonic’s TV business, which generated sales of $10.5 billion during its peak in 2009 and 2010, accumulated less than half of that amount in 2015 and 2016.

It announced that it would end plasma TV panel production at its main plant in Amagaskai in western Japan around fiscal year 2014.