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Kaneka Aims to Triple Building-Integrated Solar Panel Production by 2030

Expanding Urban Renewable Energy: Kaneka's Plan to Boost Solar Capacity, Tackling Market Growth
Japan
k 4118.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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Kaneka Corporation, a Japanese chemical company, is strategically positioning itself in the burgeoning market of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). By 2030, the company plans a significant expansion, tripling its annual production capacity for solar panels designed for urban integration. These innovative panels, developed in collaboration with Taisei Corporation, are versatile, doubling as window replacements or exterior wall materials.

The company’s ambitious plan involves upgrading its Toyooka factory in Hyogo prefecture and potentially establishing a new production facility. This expansion is set to increase output to 300,000 square meters annually by 2030.

Kaneka’s current solar panel sales, primarily catering to residential markets, stand at approximately 10 billion yen ($69 million). With the anticipated introduction of new products, separate from the Taisei partnership, Kaneka aims to boost its BIPV sales to the same figure by the end of the decade.

This expansion comes at a pivotal time. The global BIPV market is forecasted to surge to $54.8 billion by 2028, a nearly threefold increase from 2022, as per IMARC, an Indian research firm. Despite Chinese manufacturers dominating 70% of the global solar panel supply, Japanese firms like Kaneka, Choshu Industry, and Sharp are carving a niche with high-value products like BIPV.

In Japan, the potential for BIPV is immense, with the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association estimating a generation capacity of 82.8 gigawatts, almost matching the country’s current solar capacity.

Although BIPV costs substantially more than traditional panels, demand is expected from companies seeking to promote decarbonization. In support, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment plans to subsidize up to two-thirds of BIPV installation costs from fiscal 2024, potentially accelerating adoption.

Other Japanese companies, such as AGC and Sekisui Chemical, are also making significant strides in the sector. AGC is contemplating a production ramp-up, while developments in perovskite solar cells by Kaneka and others could reduce BIPV costs further, backed by government subsidies to hasten commercialization. This concerted effort marks a decisive shift towards sustainable urban development, spotlighting Japan’s role in the global renewable energy landscape.

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