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. 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 5,000 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).
The government set solar PV targets in 2004 and revised them in 2009:
- 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
Solar companies of Japan include:
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, 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.
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.
Two of the proposed projects are a 70 MW plant by Kyocera in Kagoshima and a 100 MW plant by Toshiba in Minami Soma, Fukshima Prefecture.
A 77 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Tahara City, on the Atsumi Peninsula, and is expected to be completed in 2014. A 200 MW plant is proposed for Tomakomai.
It is expected that many new projects will be constructed, to take advantage of the new feed-in tariff.