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Toshiba ventures into residential solar PV market

Posted: 08 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:residential PV system? photovoltaic? solar cell? solar power?

Toshiba Corp. it will make its full-scale entry into the residential solar photovoltaic systems business in Japan on April 1, with the goal of winning a 10 percent share of the Japan market by fiscal year 2012.

Toshiba's residential solar PV systems comprise PV modules, power conditioners and color LCD that displays the overall system status. The photovoltaic modules will be supplied by SunPower Corp. and will integrate solar cells that achieve a conversion efficiency of cells of 21.5 percent, one of the highest commercially available conversion efficiencies. Toshiba's PV systems will combine these modules with a power conditioner and achieve a total power generating efficiency rate of 15.9 percent. This level of performance will allow configuration of smaller, lighter systems suited to Japan residences.

In entering the residential solar PV systems business, Toshiba will draw on its experience in the solar PV systems market for utilities and industrial plants, and its high level capabilities in system integration and deployment. The business will initially have about 30 employees, a number expected to grow to approximately 80 by fiscal year 2012. Toshiba will promote the business by establishing a training center to support the contractors who will install the systems, and expects to conduct training programs for approximately 3,000 employees of contractors by the end of fiscal year 2010.

Going forward, Toshiba aims to drive business expansion with an enhanced product line-up that can meet a wide range of needs for the residential solar photovoltaic systems.

Japan solar initiatives
A growing awareness of the need to counteract global warming is prompting various measures to promote residential solar systems in Japan. Prefectural and city governments are introducing purchase subsidy programs, and power companies have established a feed-in tariff system that pays a premium rate for surplus electricity to owners of solar power systems connected to the grid.

In fiscal year 2015 the residential solar photovoltaic systems market scale in Japan is expected to reach approximately 600 billion yen ($6.71 billion), up from 140 billion yen ($1.56 billion) in fiscal year 2008, and further growth over the long term is widely expected. In this market situation, Toshiba will strengthen its line-up of energy-saving products for households by entering into the market for residential solar photovoltaic systems, alongside its current businesses in promoting home-electrification, LED lighting, and low power consumption digital products.

Toshiba is also promoting a next-generation power network system for its emerging smart grid business. Since residential solar PV systems are an important dispersed power generation source in Smart Grids, full scale entry into this business will allow Toshiba to strengthen its overall business capabilities in smart grids.

Toshiba is also involved in the rechargeable battery business with its innovative SCiB and in the smart meter business. With the combination of these products, Toshiba aims to promote sales of total solar photovoltaic systems that build on its current businesses.

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