Toshiba Sees Bright Sales in Solar


Like many other chip companies, consumer electronics makers and investors, Japanese manufacturer Toshiba is wading into the bright but unfamiliar waters of the growing solar market. Today, Toshiba said it has officially jumped into the solar photovoltaic business by launching a “Photovoltaic Systems Division” that will do business largely as a solar power plant integrator and components supplier.

It’s a little unclear how Toshiba’s new solar division will split up and focus its efforts. But on the components side, the company, which is mostly known for making laptops and gadgets, says it will offer up its Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB) for the solar market. Recently Toshiba also stepped up its game in the race to supply rechargeable batteries to automakers with news that it plans to build a second factory to build its batteries.

On the systems integration side, Toshiba says it will work with already established partners — Toshiba bought nuclear power project developer Westinghouse back in 2006 to concentrate on the U.S. nuclear power plant market. While Toshiba will likely be working out the kinks of its solar division this year, the company is already bullish enough on solar to predict that its PV unit will deliver annual business of about 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion) by fiscal year 2015. That’s confidence.

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