Special

Infini Aims to Enter Global Market With 'Fukushima Pride' (1)

New factory in Naraha Town starts operation after solving series of problems

2018/02/20 18:24
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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New factory aims for 300MW of annual production volume

"Because of the teamwork of the employees recruited in Fukushima Prefecture, stable operation of the new factory was finally achieved after a series of problems," said Naoto Kotera, managing director of Infini (Naniwa-ku, Osaka City) and factory manager of the Fukushima Factory, impressed by the "efforts" of the employees at the Fukushima Factory. Kotera describes such efforts as "Fukushima pride."

Infini manufactures and sells "Japan Solar" brand solar panels. It is a medium-sized company with annual sales of approximately 15 billion yen (approx US$140 million). The company is also engaged in biomass power generation and mega (large-scale) solar businesses as well as the power retail business, setting solar panel production as the core business.

The completion ceremony of the "Fukushima Factory," the new production base in Naraha Town, Fukushima Prefecture, was held on July 6 last year (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: The Fukushima Factory (source: Nikkei BP)

The completion ceremony was held on a grand scale, attended by about 100 people including Toshiyuki Izumi, vice governor of Fukushima Prefecture, Yukiei Matsumoto, mayor of Naraha Town and Motoi Aoki, chairman of the Naraha Town Assembly.

"We will deliver reliable solar panels from Fukushima to regions throughout the world," said Tomoyuki Oyakawa, president of Infini. "We will to support recovery from the disaster by offering jobs in the town affected by the disaster" (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: The completion ceremony (source: Nikkei BP)

Crystal silicon solar panels are manufactured at the new factory. The target production volume is set at about 100MW per year at present, but the company aims to achieve an annual production volume of 300MW in the future, including products delivered abroad.

Problems occurred more frequently than expected at the pilot production stage, which started in July last year, and it was impossible to work out a schedule for full-scale operation at the beginning. Problems, such as minor adjustments following the initial setting of the production equipment taking a lot of time, occurred one after another, and the situation resulted in far from stable operation with a 10% defect rate before shipment, or, in other words, a 90% yield.