Solar power in Japan

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Price of PV modules (yen/Wp) in Japan
PV cell production and shipment (GWp) in Japan: Total (orange), Export (green), and Domestic (blue)

Solar power in Japan has been expanding since the late 1990s. The country is a leading manufacturer of solar panels and is in the top 5 ranking for countries with the most solar PV installed. In 2009 Japan had the third largest solar capacity in the world (behind Germany and Spain), with most of it grid connected.[1][2] The insolation is good at about 4.3 to 4.8 kWh/(m²·day). Japan is the world's fourth largest energy consumer, making solar power an important national project.[3] By the end of 2012, Japan had installed 7,000 MW of photovoltaics, enough to generate 0.77% of Japan's electricity. Since 2013 new commercial installations have exceeded domestic installations by capacity. Japan is expected to install 6 to 7 GW in 2014.[4]

Government action[edit]

Financial incentives[edit]

The Japanese government is seeking to expand solar power by enacting subsidies and a feed-in tariff (FIT). In December 2008, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced a goal of 70% of new homes having solar power installed, and would be spending $145 million in the first quarter of 2009 to encourage home solar power.[5] The government enacted a feed-in tariff on November, 2009 that requires utilities to purchase excess solar power sent to the grid by homes and businesses and pay twice the standard electricity rate for that power.[6]

On June 18, 2012, a new feed-in tariff was approved, of 42 Yen/kWh, about 0.406 Euro/kWh or USD 0.534/kWh. The tariff covers the first ten years of excess generation for systems less than 10 kW, and generation for twenty years for systems over 10 kW. It became effective July 1, 2012.[7] In 2013, Japan is expected to install 5-9 GW of solar power (nameplate wattage).[8][9] In April 2013, the FIT was reduced to 37.8 Yen/kWh.[10] The FIT was further reduced to 32 Yen/kWh in April 2014.[11]

Targets[edit]

The government set solar PV targets in 2004 and revised them in 2009:[12]

  • 28 GW of solar PV capacity by 2020
  • 53 GW of solar PV capacity by 2030
  • 10% of total domestic primary energy demand met with solar PV by 2050

Companies[edit]

Solar companies of Japan include:

Notable projects[edit]

The Solar Ark, built in 2002, is one the largest solar buildings in the world.

After the shift away from a nuclear power-dependent energy policy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident,[13] the first three solar plants by TEPCO were completed in 2011 and 2012, the Ukishima Solar Power Plant, 7 MW, the Ogishima Solar Power Plant, 13 MW, and the Komekurayama Solar Power Plant, 10 MW. The output of all three can be monitored on the internet.[14]

341 MW of photovoltaics are planned for the island of Hokkaido, and a total of 1,800 MW of photovoltaics projects have been approved for Japan, as of October 2012.[15]

Two of the proposed projects are a 70 MW plant by Kyocera in Kagoshima and a 100 MW plant by Toshiba in Minami Soma, Fukushima Prefecture.[16][17]

A 77 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Tahara City, on the Atsumi Peninsula, and is expected to be completed in 2014.[18] A 200 MW plant is proposed for Tomakomai.[19]

It is expected that many new projects will be constructed, to take advantage of the new feed-in tariff.

Statistics[edit]

Photovoltaics[edit]

Installed PV capacity (in MW)[20][21]
Year
End
Total
Capacity
Yearly
Installation
1992 19.0 n/a
1993 24.3 5.3
1994 31.2 6.9
1995 43.4 12.2
1996 59.6 16.2
1997 91.3 31.7
1998 133 41.7
1999 209 76
2000 330 121
2001 453 123
2002 637 184
2003 860 223
2004 1,132 272
2005 1,422 290
2006 1,709 287
2007 1,919 210
2008 2,144 225
2009 2,627 483
2010 3,618 991
2011 4,914 1,296
2012 6,632 1,718
2013 13,532 6,900
Growth of PV capacity in megawatts since 1992
2,500
5,000
7,500
10,000
12,500
15,000
1992
1996
2000
2004
2008
2012

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National survey report of PV Power applications in Japan 2006 retrieved 16 October 2008
  2. ^ Global Market Outlook for photovoltaics until 2013 retrieved 22 May 2009
  3. ^ "Solar Energy in Japan - Summary". GENI. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Japan adds 4.58 GW of PV in eight months, FIT cuts of 10% mooted". PV Magazine. 4 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Japan renews focus on solar power
  6. ^ Soto, Shigeru (2010-02-09). "Japan’s Solar Panel Sales Rise to Record on Subsidy (Update1)". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  7. ^ Japan Approves Feed-in Tariffs
  8. ^ Japan To Become Land of Rising Solar
  9. ^ harlen, chico (4 June 2013). "In Japan, new policy spurs solar power boom". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Japan’s High-Cost Renewable Energy Curbs Subsidy Impact
  11. ^ Chisaki Watanabe (March 2014). "Japan Cuts Subsidy for Solar Power, Boosts Offshore Wind". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  12. ^ Yamamoto, Masamichi and Osamu Ikki (2010-05-28). "National survey report of PV Power Applications in Japan 2009". International Energy Agency. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  13. ^ UN cites solar potential as Japan scraps nuclear plan
  14. ^ Solar Power Plant Facility Overview
  15. ^ Mega solar power plants may be excessively concentrated in Hokkaido.
  16. ^ Now Toshiba says they’re building Japan’s ‘largest’ solar plant in Fukushima
  17. ^ Utility-scale solar plant for Fukushima
  18. ^ One of Japan's Largest Mega Solar Projects to be Built in Aichi
  19. ^ Japan to see a solar power boom
  20. ^ "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Japan - 2012 - Third Version". International Energy Agency. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  21. ^ "Global 2013 solar installs hit 37GW: EPIA". PV-Tech. 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 

External links[edit]