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Korean companies jump into race for green energy

LSIS aims to become a total energy provider in solar plant business

TOKYO -- From solid-state batteries ready for commercialization to an integrated system for residential production and consumption of photovoltaic energy, the latest technologies aimed at realizing a complete shift of human dependence from fossil to clean energy was highlighted at an annual exhibition that kicked off in the capital city of Japan on Wednesday.

The Tokyo Smart Energy Week features eight separate exhibitions specializing in renewable energy such as photovoltaic, wind, and biomass for a three-day event. The list of separate exhibitions also includes hydrogen and fuel cell, energy storage systems and recycling technology for renewable energy.

Unlike major exhibitions on information technology and devices, the Tokyo Smart Energy Week is lesser known to Korea Inc. that is heavily dependent on chips and electronics devices. The event, however, brings thousands of energy experts, technicians and companies together to discuss the future of green energy and ways for commercialization. 

Koo Ja-kyun, chairman and CEO of LSIS (center) speaks about the company’s competitiveness in solar power generation at PV System Expo held at Tokyo Big Sight on Wednesday. (LSIS)
Koo Ja-kyun, chairman and CEO of LSIS (center) speaks about the company’s competitiveness in solar power generation at PV System Expo held at Tokyo Big Sight on Wednesday. (LSIS)


Demands for clean but cost-effective energy are growing at a fast pace with governments from advanced countries all raising the bar on carbon emissions. Korean companies LSIS and Hanwha Q Cells too have joined the move, testing the marketability of their technologies seeking new business opportunities in Japan, a global leader in green energy.

In terms of the size of PV market, Japan is the fourth-largest after the US, China and India. But Japan’s technological level for PV energy, for instance, is indisputably high. This is why gaining market recognition here is important for Korean companies specialized in energy technology seeking global expansion. 

“We hope to expand our global operations by taking the Japanese market as a stepping-stone,” said an official from LSIS, a South Korean power and energy provider.

“The PV markets in Europe and Japan have reached saturation but there is growing demand in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Building references here is crucial for raising our global reputation,” he said, adding that the competitiveness of Korean companies in terms of price and technology is being increasingly recognized by market players here.

Driven by the growing demand from emerging countries, the global PV market is likely to grow more than 25 percent in the next two years, according to experts.

To maximize profits in the growing market, LSIS for instance, aims to become a total energy provider in the solar plant business by providing not only panel modules but also a wide range of power solutions and invertor technology for photovoltaic power for both residential and commercial use.

LSIS is the first South Korean company that commercialized solar panel modules and has built its reputation in Japan by securing a number of mega-solar power plants.

Last year, it completed construction of a 28 mega-watt solar plant, the largest PV power generator in Hokkaido, and won a 46 billion won project to build an 18-megawatt solar plant in Honshu, capable of providing electricity to 5,000 households a year.

Hanwha Q Cells, a South Korean solar panel manufacturer, also participated as an exhibitor at the Smart Grid Expo, in an attempt to expand its business strategy as a provider of integrated solar power and consumption system.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the country has seen a rapid growth in PV power generation capacity. It was calculated to be 49 gigawatts by 2017 according to New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. Though the PV market in Japan appears to have reached its peak, anticipation for new businesses such as power storage technology is high. Betting on new business opportunities, Hanwha Q Cells has introduced a wide range of PV generation system including energy storage systems, surveillance camera and mobile application systems for energy management, the official said.


By Cho Chung-un, Korea Herald correspondent  (christory@heraldcorp.com)
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