Japan yesterday kicked off a new era in renewable energy with feed-in tariffs for solar power, as well as other renewables, that are expected to turn the country into one of the world’s biggest markets.
The new premium feed-in tariff price for solar electricity is around triple the level for conventional power and is designed to drive uptake of the technology to plug the gap left by nuclear power.
Japan has turned off all its nuclear power stations, which provided around 30% of the country’s power, in the wake of the Fukushima crisis last year.
According to media and financial reports, utilities will now pay ¥42 per kilowatt hour to solar generators with installations over 10 kW for a 20-year period, almost twice the rate in Germany, which has been a market leader in solar power.
Japan, which is currently ranked sixth in the world in terms of solar capacity, has plans for 3.2-4.7 GW of new solar capacity next year to add to its existing 5 GW.
The growth means that Japan will be second only to China in terms of solar capacity growth, becoming an attractive market for investment.
The feed-in tariffs announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which are among the highest in the world, also cover wind, hydro, geothermal and bioenergy technologies.
But Japan has a lot of ground to make up. Currently, the country only gets some 1.6% of its energy from renewable sources, which is among the least of the G7 nations.
For further information:
Kyocera to build largest commercial-scale solar plant in Japan (11-Apr)
Japan backs floating offshore wind turbines at Fukushima (7-Mar)
Green feed-in tariff to boost Japan's renewable sector (30-Aug 2011)
Japan promises to aim for a nuclear-free future (13-Jul 2011)
02 July 2012