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. 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. By the end of 2012, Japan had installed 7,000 MW of photovoltaics, enough to generate 0.77% of Japan's electricity. Due to the new FIT, Japan is expected to install 5,300 MW in 2013.
The Japanese government is seeking to expand solar power by enacting subsidies and a feed-in tariff. 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. 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.
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. In 2013, Japan is expected to install 5-9 GW of solar power (nameplate wattage). In April 2013, the FIT was reduced to 37.8 Yen/kWh.