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Chinese solar panel makers eye a nuclear-free Japan


09:20, May 09, 2012

BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- After suffering losses last year amid U.S. anti-subsidy and anti-dumping investigations, Chinese solar panel manufacturers may be seeing a light near the end of the tunnel: a nuclear-free Japan.

Even before Japan announced Sunday that it shut down the country's last working nuclear power plant, Chinese photovoltaic companies began tapping the Japanese market in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis that followed a massive earthquake and tsunami in March last year.

Since the start of this year, at least five Chinese solar panel manufacturers, including Hebei-based Yingli Green Energy, Jiangsu-based Hareon Solar Technology Co., Ltd. and Shanghai-based Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd., have set up offices in Japan, eyeing the world's third-largest economy for new business opportunities.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., China's largest manufacturer of photovoltaic cells, set its foothold in Japan in 2006 by acquiring MSK Corporation, one of Japan's biggest solar energy players.

Japan used to rely heavily on nuclear power to fuel its economy, which was estimated at 5.85 trillion U.S. dollars in 2011.

"(The cutoff of all nuclear reactors in Japan) will definitely give the Chinese photovoltaic industry a new opportunity," said Wang Liusheng, an analyst with China Merchants Securities.

Wang expected the Japanese government to adopt an electricity consumption subsidy policy this year, a move that would make Japan "a very attractive market."

Of the world's 24-gigawatt solar power installed capacity last year, Japan accounted for about 5 percent of the total, ranking fifth in the worldwide installed photovoltaic panel module capacity last year, following Italy, Germany, the United States and China, according to IMS Research, a consulting company offering studies for the global electronic industry.

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