Japan Attains 3.9 GW Of PV Installations Since FiT Introduction

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Since Japan’s feed-in tariff (FiT) was introduced (July 2012), its solar photovoltaic generation capacity installed has amounted to 3.9 GW. In all, approximately 4.086 GW of renewable power generation capacity was added since July 2012, including solar, wind, small and medium-sized hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal.

Solar accounted for 90% of the renewable energy capacity added in that time period, according to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which sees this is an indication that its adoption of solar power is proceeding smoothly. 3.9 GW of growth over 16 months is at the top of the league. (This is an average of about a quarter of a GW per month).

Solar power plant in Japan via Shutterstock
Solar panel test site in Japan via Shutterstock

According to PV-Tech:

The 3.9GW figure for installed solar energy capacity includes the figure for residential installations as one category and utility-scale or commercial use as a separate category. According to METI in the year between July 2012 and the same period of this year, around 1.521GW of residential solar was installed along with just under 2.4GW of commercial and utility scale.

As has been widely reported, the figure for completed utility-scale ‘mega solar’ projects in particular has not been matched by the amount of capacity put in the ground. The ministry’s figures reveal that the 2.4GW of installed commercial scale solar capacity is still dwarfed by the corresponding figure for approved utility scale projects – around 20.3GW. In contrast, for around 1.521GW of installed residential capacity, the approved figure was 1.751GW.

This is good news for the country, which has been deterred from nuclear power by the Fukushima Daiichi incident, which prompted a nuclear phase-out and, after years, is still not quite under control.

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Nicholas Brown

Has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

Nicholas Brown has 594 posts and counting. See all posts by Nicholas Brown

28 thoughts on “Japan Attains 3.9 GW Of PV Installations Since FiT Introduction

  • In all of these types of articles, it would be a useful comparison to how much nuclear power this displaces. I don’t know the math, but it’s math. Does this much solar get rid of the equivalent of four nuclear power plants? That kind of thing. Then go to how many nuclear plants are left to overcome with renewable. That’s the real progress point, not just the installed capacity.

    • 3.9 GW of PV is equivalent to about 600 MW of nuclear.

      • On what calculation do you base this number?

        The energy demand by the atomic industry is prapably excluded.

        An availability for atomic powerplants of 90% of their planned life-time is a pipe dream of the sales men.
        Look at Japan, Korea, Germany, Belgium, France, USA …..

        • Roughly 8000 full load hours for the nuclear plant and 1200 for PV.

          Neither did I account for the energy use in the PV industry.

          • Look up Procrustean Bed to explain your logic here.
            Your “8,000 full load hours” turn into peanuts when you run a 30 year time frame on all nuclear power plants to date.

            You are, not only ignoring accidents, and there have been a lot more of those than published, but you are ignoring the money and energy spent to build nuclear power plants that were never finished or closed early. You are also ignoring the core fuel rod change cycles with a reactor down for up to a two months at a time.

            Like I said, you have a fixation on the concentration of power these monstrosities can achieve. That’s narrow minded and willfully blind.

            If you really are a defender of renewable energy as Bob says, you will run a decade plus set of realistic numbers on dirty energy. You will include uranium mining, refining and manufacturing of fuel rods along with the energy output costs of a century or so of baby sitting “used” fuel rods in a poisoned pool some where.

            Or you can keep believing in the “Pandora’s Promise” mendacity.

            Your choice. But try to remember that a GW is a GW, no matter how it is made, before you get into alleged equivalencies gamed with cleverly convenient time frames to make dirty energy look good.

            Have a nice day.

          • You’re posting a lot of crap.

            A 1 GW solar array running 4-5 hours will output very much less electricity than a 1 GW nuclear plant running 90% of 24/365.

            Again, it makes no sense to compare different generation technologies based on nameplate capacity when they have different CFs.

          • Nuclear plants can’t run 24/7, they need to be shut down for a month and a half on average every 18 months for refueling and maintenance.

          • “a 1 GW nuclear plant running 90% of 24/365.”

            90% is the typical capacity factor (CF) claim for nuclear reactors. The 10% is expected refueling and maintenance time.

            In 2011 (the most recent data we have) the CF for US nuclear was 84%. Reactors were down, on average, another 6% of the time. Most likely for repairs.

          • If you have better numbers, then simply post them.

            This reads more like I’m a sinner that needs to be taught a lesson.You’re doing no one here any favors, including yourself.

    • There are 50 atomic powerplants idled in Japan, Scot Herrick.

      These ‘powerplants’ and their side line business consume much more electricity than all Japanese RE projects can provide – so far.

      Plus Diesel and Petrol.

      The atomic industry consumes more and more energy and produces less and less electricity.

      Not only in Japan but on a global scale.

      The question

      ” Does this much solar get rid of the equivalent of four nuclear power plants? ”

      is therefore non-relevant.
      The point-of-no-return concerning a sustainable electricity source was reached when the first atomic waste was created by man.

      • Well said.

        In a century or so, if we don’t “reform” the “arne-nl”s among us, a few sad ETs will gaze on the brown, dead ball that was once a vibrant place full of life called Earth.

        They will discuss the timeframe for a seeding procedure to attempt bioremediation based on a several thousand year time scale due to the presence of DNA destroying radionuclide contamination of the soil and the oceans. They will lament the Homo SAP tragic and suicidal fixation with caloric intake and concentrated power that blinded them to the vital, non-optional requirement for inter-species and intra-species cooperation and altruistic behavior in order for the sustainability of a complex biosphere to be a reality. They will wonder how, with so much knowledge of the life processes around them, humans failed to realize the fragility of the biosphere they so depended on.

        One ET specialist in endocrine systems and biochemical signaling considered the possibility that the sugar reflex was behind most of the human excesses that blinded that species into the belief that hoarding and storing energy was a viable strategy, even when taken to extremes that resulted in excess “fat”, creating analogous “anoxic” conditions in the biosphere, even as excess fat in a human liver brings necrosis from lack of oxygen, that began to destroy them.

        Perhaps their brains became intoxicated from the toxins present in too much caloric intake.

        Perhaps they weren’t as intelligent as they seemed.

        Homeostasis, if applied to their biosphere and industrial civilization, would have saved them. But, like a primitive primate given the choice of cocaine over food, would always pick cocaine until it died.

        Attention then turned to the next planet on their survey and the quandary of the seemingly intelligent humans with such incredible lack of foresight was shelved for a future discussion.

        Renewable Revolution

        • “reform” the “arne-nl”s?

          Anne is about a pro-renewable as one can get.

          She answered the question. 3.9 GW nameplate solar is not 3.9 GW per hour 24/365 output electricity anymore that 3.9 GW wind or 3.9 GW nuclear produces 3.9 GWh 24/365.

          • So? GW is a yardstick we use. Nobody ever said it equates to 24/7 365 days a year energy output.

            Why the quibble if not to undermine the potential value of solar in Japan. Amory Lovins, in the following video, explains how Japan, without the “we need more GWs” fixation, can transition to renewable energy.

            “GDP growth needs to track energy use growth” is a misconception

          • If you look up the page Scott asked how many reactors would be replaced by 3.9 GW of solar. Anne gave him the answer.

            Nameplate GW for any generation is not a great way to describe the system. A GW of solar is not the same as a GW of wind which is not the same as a GW of nuclear. Describing systems in terms of expected GW output would make more sense.

            I would assume Anne looked up the CF for that location and found it to be ~ 15.4%.

          • Right! What is the equivalent GW output to the several GW Fushima Daichi nuclear power plant? 000.0 MW

            What is the equivalent output of the 50 nuclear power plants in Japan now that they are all idled, huh?

            You are going to talk about stats from a reference book that ignores energy manufacturing and externalized costs of all sorts? Good luck withy that, pal!

            You are just going deeper and deeper into some rigid straw grasping formality to defend the arbitrary amount of “up” time a nuclear power plant is supposed to have compared to solar PV.

            I dare you to run those numbers for all of Japan’s nukes from startup to the present date.

            Get real, Bob! PV solar has it all over nuclear power and fossil fuels as to “up” time in a decade or more time frame, even without a nuclear accident, when maintenance energy outputs sans subsidies are properly accounted for.

            I repeat: A GW is a GW. The up or down time equivalent is an arbitrary standard that favors dirty energy in short time frames (the reference your pal is quoting) but shows dirty energy in all its inefficient “glory” in long decade plus time frames.


          • A GW of nameplate of nuclear is not the same as a GW of nameplate for wind. That’s simply a silly claim.

  • This is moderately confusing. Most countries differentiate between residential (typically <10kw), commercial (typically <1 MW), and utility. You would expect utility farms to run into planning difficulties in a country with as little flat land as Japan. But why should commercial installations on factory and store rooftops face problems?

  • “The ministry’s figures reveal that the 2.4GW of installed commercial scale solar capacity is still dwarfed by the corresponding figure for approved utility scale projects – around 20.3GW”

    I’m afraid Japan is heading for a boom-bust scenario.

    The feed-in tariffs are high, very high, in my opinion too high. It takes time for the pipeline to fill with projects and the installation industry to develop, so the 3.9 GW is only a start. Once they get going, there’s no stopping them to take advantage of the feed-in tariffs while they last. Then the financial burden will get too high. the tariffs hastily reduced and then a lot of these new companies will go bust.

    • I’m afraid you are irrationally fixated on concentrated utility power from fossil fuels and nuclear with absolutely no knowledge of the deadly consequences to Homo Sap and the biosphere these poisonous technologies have wrought.
      I remember that pro-nuke and pro-fossil fuel people like you have been predicting the “death” of feed in Tarif
      Have a nice day.

      • You’re reading Anne wrong.

        • Why? You have a gift of gab when you want to. Laconic dismissals of criticisms are not your style. Explain yourself, sir.

          • How about you explain where you got the idea that Anne was “irrationally fixated on concentrated utility power from fossil fuels and nuclear with absolutely no knowledge of the deadly consequences to Homo Sap and the biosphere these poisonous technologies have wrought”.

          • You first. See my comment above on the videos by Amory Lovins. I’ve been dealing with these criticisms of FiTs that are nothing but disguised attacks on renewable energy subsidies while not one word is said about dirty energy subsidies for a couple of years now. Where have you been?

            And by the way, arne-nl has a voice and doesn’t require your defense. Let him/her speak. You are getting to be a worse grouch than I am!


          • You might want to learn about how FiTs have not always been used wisely.

      • Nowhere did I promote centralised fossil/nuclear power, so please keep your fantasy out of the equation.

        The horrific consequences of the Spanish solar boom and inevitable bust are still felt in that country. Solid, stable, sustainable growth is what we need, no hype cycles. That’s why I am afraid of what is brewing in Japan ever since I learned the FiT started around 42 yen/kWh in 2012, which is about $ 0.40 per kWh.

        I am not the only one to fear this.

        • ” horrific consequences of the Spanish solar boom and inevitable bust are still felt in that country”.

          Well, that explains it. If you can apply that adjective to an economy and leave it out of a nuclear power plant GW output equivalence, there is nothing for me to say.
          If you would like to argue with me about my “Fantasies”, just read the Nuke Puke board on my forum and comment. I will answer respectfully.

          Renewable Revolution

          • ” I will answer respectfully.”

            How about starting HERE and NOW?

  • I get a result similar to Arne-nl for solar in Japan.

Comments are closed.