Vitec, ReneSola Complete Solar Panel Plant in Japan

2014/05/12 16:33
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Vitec Global Solar Co Ltd, which is a joint venture of Vitec Co Ltd, ReneSola Ltd, etc, had a ceremony to celebrate the completion of its solar panel manufacturing plant in Ohtawara City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, May 7, 2014.

Vitec and ReneSola are a Japan-based semiconductor trading company and a China-based solar panel manufacturer, respectively.

All of the solar panels to be manufactured at the plant will be purchased by ReneSola and sold as its products made in Japan. Because Vitec Global Solar (Ohtawara City, Tochigi Prefecture) will collaborate with ReneSola even in custody of inventory and after-sales services, those panels will possibly be employed for mega (large-scale) solar power plants that need to use a solar power generation system made in Japan, as solar panels made and technically supported in Japan.

ReneSola owns manufacturing bases in eight countries around the globe, claiming a strategy of "local production for local consumption." On the other hand, Vitec had been using solar panels manufactured by the Samsung group for its mega solar plants. However, since the group withdrew from the solar panel business in 2013, Vitec had been looking for a solar panel supplier.

Vitec was looking for a solar panel supplier with whom it can run new businesses through developments of new products and markets and who can meet technical and product-related requirements for solar panels such as quality and price. As a result, Vitec decided to tie up with ReneSola and built the plant in Japan as part of their joint project.

The new plant was constructed by making use of a former supermarket building. It is scheduled to produce 80MW of solar panels in 2014. At first, Vitec Global Solar will manufacture only industrial panels at the plant, but it plans to produce residential panels, too, in the future.

Vitec Global Solar employed ReneSola's manufacturing processes for the plant. It purchases ReneSola's solar cells, wires them, looks for abnormalities (cracks) of the cells by using EL test equipment and visual inspection and seals them with EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) films. The difference between the new plant and ReneSola's other manufacturing bases is that the new plant uses Nisshinbo Holdings Inc's production facilities such as sealing equipment.

After the sealing process, an EL test and visual inspection are conducted again to check for abnormalities. Then, Vitec Global Solar removes extra EVA, attaches junction boxes and aluminum frames, seals them with silicon resin and applies weak light to test their power generation capability.

Vitec Global Solar was also funded by Sun-S (a firm based in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture), which provided expertise in production, in addition to Vitec and ReneSola.