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Clean Power Solar power plant in Japan via Shutterstock

Published on January 21st, 2014 | by James Ayre

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4,000 MW Of New Solar PV Capacity Added In Japan

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January 21st, 2014 by
 
japanese solar feed in tariff rate yenNearly 4,000 MW (4 GW) of new solar photovoltaic capacity was installed in Japan between April 1st and October 31st 2013, according to a new report released by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). To be exact, 3,993 MW of new PV capacity was installed, based on the data compiled by METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE).

“Photovoltaic power facilities steadily continue to be introduced, and the total combined capacity of such facilities as of October 31, 2013, reached 5,852,000 kW after the feed-in tariff scheme was introduced,” METI stated in the report.

Japan’s total installed solar PV capacity currently sits (as of October 31st 2013) right around 11.226 GW — so the 3.99 GW of new solar PV capacity represents quite significant growth. Of this new capacity, roughly 870 MW is from residential projects, and the other 3,123 MW is from non-residential systems.

PV Magazine provides more:

From July 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, Japan’s total PV capacity reached 1,673 MW, with residential making up 969 MW and non-residential 704 MW. Prior to the introduction of Japan’s feed-in tariff program, which went into effect July 1, 2012, combined total solar capacity in the country was at about 5.6 GW.

Japan became the first country in the world to surpass the 1 GW of cumulative PV capacity back in 2004. METI launched a subsidy program for residential PV systems in 1994, according to data from NPD Solarbuzz. Initially, the subsidy covered 50% of the cost of PV systems. As a result, until 2005, Japan had the largest installed PV capacity of any country in the world.

Solar PV deployment in Japan slowed in the mid-2000s, due in part to the country’s ten-year energy plan that was approved in March 2002 and called for an expansion of nuclear generation by approximately 30% by 2011. The plan included the construction of between nine and 12 new nuclear power plants, equivalent to 17.5 GW of new nuclear generating capacity.

Of course, after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the plans for an expansion of the country’s nuclear capacity were nixed — hence the rapid increase in solar capacity since then.

Image Credit: Japan solar home (sort of) via Shutterstock

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Ronald Brakels

    Japan’s PV is now producing about as many kilowatt-hours as two large 1 gigawatt nuclear reactors and helping to keep electricity prices down during the day and the summertime peak. I will mention that installation rates have probably slowed since October. This is not because of problems with solar power but because it’s not construction season there anymore. The weather at this time of year is just terrible.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Wow, great point, useful context. :D

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