Solar Frontier Doubles Solar Panel Shipments in 2013

2014/02/21 10:27
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Showa Shell Sekiyu K K announced its financial results for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2013.

The announcement was made in February 2014. The total capacity of shipped solar panels manufactured by Solar Frontier K K exceeded estimates and increased by about 100% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis. Solar Frontier is a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu and a manufacturer of CIS-based solar panels. By region, 90% or more of the total capacity is accounted for by panels shipped for the Japanese market, on which Showa Shell Sekiyu focused because of the high profitability of the market.

The Kunitomi Plant (Miyazaki Prefecture), Solar Frontier's production base for solar panels, had been in full operation for the year except for the maintenance period required by law. The production cost per watt was reduced by about 20% on a YoY basis, as planned.

Operating profit of Showa Shell Sekiyu's energy solution business including Solar Frontier's business moved into the black in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. In the fourth quarter (from October to December 2013), its operating profit increased because of increased sales of solar panels in Japan and a reduction in production costs, compared with the third quarter (from July to September 2013).

In July 2013, Solar Frontier restarted operation of its second plant, where light-weight panels targeted at residences have been produced since October 2013. Also, the company strengthened its marketing and sales networks for its home-use panels.

Furthermore, Solar Frontier will start operation of its Tohoku Plant (Kurokawa-gun, Miyagi Prefecture), which will be newly built as its fourth plant, by March 2015. The total investment in the plant is about ¥13 billion (approx US$127 million). The production capacity of the fourth plant will be 150MW per year.