Toshiba, SunPower take aim at Japan’s home solar market

Toshiba is setting its sights on the domestic Japanese home solar system market, signing a third-party US panel supplier to help build the cornerstone of a new residential solar offering.

March 4, 2010 –  Toshiba is setting its sights on the domestic Japanese home solar system market, signing a third-party US panel supplier to help build the cornerstone of a new residential solar offering.

Toshiba is linking up with SunPower to procure 32MW of panels with maximum 210MW output, to be sold for an estimated ?147,000, notes the Nikkei daily; the company also plans to train about 3000 panel system installers in the next fiscal year.

Estimates see the Japanese market for home-use solar power systems more than quadrupling to ?600B in the nine years from 2008-2015 — of which the new partners hope to take a 10% slice, notes the Nikkei.

In a statement, SunPower CEO Tom Werner and Shoji Takenaka, chief technology executive of Toshiba’s transmission distribution & industrial systems company, agreed that the deal’s sweetspot is in offering high-efficiency panels, because Japan’s new feed-in tariff “rewards production of solar energy in excess of domestic consumption, but available roof area is typically quite small.”

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