Japan Adds 6.85GW of PV Facilities Since FIT Introduction

2014/03/26 21:00
Kiyotaka Nakanishi, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) made an announcement about the state of renewable energy-based power generation facilities in Japan as of the end of December 2013.

Since the introduction of the feel-in tariff (FIT) scheme in July 2012, 534,377 renewable energy-based power generation facilities had started operation. The total output capacity of them is 7,043,500kW, more than 97% of which is accounted for by solar power generation facilities (6,845,300kW). Compared with the capacity as of the end of November 2013, it is an increase of 587,000kW.

Of the new solar power generation facilities, 2,257,089kW of residential systems (10kW or lower output capacity, 519,231 systems) had been certified since July 2012, and 2,016,319kW of the systems (441,908 systems) had started power generation by December 2013. On the other hand, 26,124,244kW of non-residential systems (10kW or higher capacity, 254,915 systems) had been certified. It is more than 10 times the capacity of the newly certified residential systems.

Though 4,828,995kW of non-residential solar power generation systems (92,385 systems), which is more than 100% higher than the capacity of the residential systems, had started power generation by the end of December 2013, it is only 18.5% of the total capacity of the certified non-residential facilities.

In regard to mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plants with an output capacity of 1MW or larger, 15,341,001kW of systems (3,511 systems) had been certified. It accounts for 59% of the total capacity of the certified non-residential systems. But only 1,465,145kW of the systems (less than 10% of the total capacity of the certified systems, 813 systems) had started power generation due to slow construction.

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During the period from the end of December 2012 to the end of December 2013, the total capacity of certified non-residential solar power generation facilities had increased by about seven times from 3,857,041kW. Especially, during the period from January to March 2013, when the first year of the FIT scheme with a tariff of ¥40 (approx US$0.39, excluding tax) per watt was ending, last minute applications were being made, drastically increasing the number of certified facilities.

In and after April 2013, when a new tariff of ¥36 per watt became effective, the number of certified facilities leveled off. But it began to grow again recently. Though the gap between the number of operating facilities and that of certified facilities is large, the total capacity of operating facilities steadily increased by 300,000-600,000kW per month in 2013.

By region, the total capacity of operating non-residential systems is the largest in Fukuoka Prefecture (293,132kW), followed by Kagoshima Prefecture (236,223kW), Aichi Prefecture (229,441kW), Hyogo Prefecture (222,410kW) and Ibaraki Prefecture (222,252kW). Also, the total capacity of 1MW or larger operating solar power plants is the largest in Fukuoka Prefecture (127,076kW), followed by Kagoshima Prefecture (117,259kW), Hyogo Prefecture (70,221kW), Ibaraki Prefecture (65,235kW) and Hokkaido (62,973kW).