South Korean chemicals and insurance conglomerate Hanwha Group said that it is doubling its efforts to be able to tap Japan’s growing need for solar energy. The Japanese government is looking into diversifying its energy sources since only 2 of the 50 existing nuclear reactors are currently online. The 2011 Fukushima plant accident raised concerns over nuclear power, leading to exploration of renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
An official from Hanwha said that they are opening its second sales office in Japan, because even though worldwide demand is still very weak, Japan is one of the “fastest growing solar energy markets in the world.” Because of the high electricity rates in their neighbouring country, they expect solar powered Japanese households to increase in the next few years. The Hanwha Group acquired German solar cell maker Q-Cells last year, therefore making it one of the leading players in the global solar cell and panel industry. They also took over Chinese solar cell and module manufacturer Solarfun Power Holdings in 2010 to add to its credible portfolio.
Hanwha and Japanese trading firm Marubeni signed an agreement August of last year to supply solar modules to generate about 500MW by 2016. Japan has to look towards eventually phasing out nuclear energy because of the increasing concerns over its safety and reliability. Public opinion has also started to go against bringing the other 48 nuclear reactors online. Part of the Democratic Party of Japan’s campaign platform for the July Upper House election is to phase out nuclear power by 2030.
[ via Global Post ]