Green feed-in tariff to boost Japan's renewable sector
Before resigning last week, Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan passed a feed-in tariff bill which will see utilities pay a set rate to green energy producers.
From July 2012, the bill will require utilities to buy certain amounts of electricity produced from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro power plants at preset rates.
In light of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant earlier this year, Japan pledged to scale back nuclear reactors with a long-term goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The renewable energy bill comes in the wake of the announcement that Mitsui and Toshiba will collaborate to build a 50MW photovoltaic (PV) plant, which will be Japan’s largest yet. The plant will be operational from 2013.
Kan’s bill is expected to make solar projects such as this more attractive to investors and developers. Residential installations currently make up the majority of Japan’s solar capacity, with more utility-scale projects needed if the country is to meet its long-term renewable energy targets.