Japanese electronics component companies expand environmental investment


International Business News – Major Japanese electronic component companies are actively investing in renewable energy. Murata Manufacturing Co. has installed photovoltaic panels and batteries at four factories in Japan, such as Sendai Murata Manufacturing Co. Kyocera is planning to provide 7-8% of the total electricity consumption from its own photovoltaic power generation equipment by the 2030 fiscal year. Due to the slowdown in demand for smartphones and other reasons, the performance of electronic component companies is currently severe, and these measures are intended to respond to the trend of environmental protection emphasized by overseas customer companies.

At an ESG (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance) briefing held on March 2, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. President Norio Nakashima emphasized, “We will take risks and strive to popularize renewable energy”. Since January, the company has introduced photovoltaic panels and batteries at four factories, including the Sendai factory that produces SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) filters (Murata Manufacturing Co. holds a 50% share of the global market) and the factory in Haguri-cho, Ishikawa Prefecture. The total photovoltaic power generation capacity of the four factories is 3966 kW, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 1000 ordinary households, and the battery capacity is 2690 kWh. In addition, plans are in place to purchase renewable energy power from outside in the future, and all the electricity at the factory will come from renewable energy.

Murata’s investment in the environmental protection field, such as renewable energy equipment, for the 2022 fiscal year (ending March 2023) is 500 million yen. Although the total equipment investment for the 2023 fiscal year has decreased from the originally planned 240 billion yen to 200 billion yen, the investment in the environmental protection field has increased to about three times that of the previous fiscal year. This is because “customer companies in Europe and the United States are requiring advanced environmental countermeasures” (Nakashima President). Murata will cooperate with Mitsubishi Corporation to set up a photovoltaic power station with an output of 70,000 kW by the 2025 fiscal year, and will also promote measures related to the “Virtual Purchase Agreement (Visual PPA)” for long-term purchase of certificates with environmental value.

Kyocera will provide 7-8% of the total electricity consumption from its own photovoltaic panels and other equipment by the 2030 fiscal year. Kyocera previously installed photovoltaic power generation equipment at factories and its own office buildings, but “the amount of power generated is less than half of the target, so photovoltaic power generation equipment will be installed outside the premises” (Green Transformation Business Development Division Manager Yasuyoshi Kusano). Several power plants will be set up in the 2023 fiscal year.

TDK built its own photovoltaic station in India in 2021 and is also strengthening the development of renewable energy in Japan. The Akita Prefecture factory completed in April introduced an energy management system using photovoltaic panels and proprietary technology, plus the purchase of renewable energy from outside, will provide 100% of the electricity from renewable energy. In addition, Ken Ishiwata, head of the TDK Environment Comprehensive Division, said that the company “will consider starting from the European region” regarding the “Corporate PPA” for long-term renewable energy contracts.

The background of the major electronic component companies strengthening renewable energy measures is the international corporate alliance “RE100”, which strives to make all the business electricity used by renewable energy. RE100 will apply the new standard from 2024, requiring electricity from renewable energy facilities developed by its own company or from equipment purchased within 15 years after the start of operation.

Apple, which has joined RE100, has proposed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, including the manufacturing process. Apple stated that it “will work with suppliers that have made certain progress in (decarbonization)”, and major Japanese electronic component companies are also major suppliers and are strengthening renewable energy measures.