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Japan Certifies 26.5GW of Solar Power Plants in March

2014/06/20 21:53
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced June 17, 2014, the total capacities of renewable energy-based power generation facilities introduced and certified by the end of fiscal 2013 (ended March 31, 2014).

The total capacity of renewable energy-based power generation facilities that were introduced in Japan after the implementation of the feed-in tariff (FIT) policy reached 8,950,000kW at the end of March 2014. Combined with the capacity of facilities that were installed before the implementation, the total capacity became 29,554,000kW (excluding that of large-scale hydraulic power generation facilities).

Solar power generation facilities account for about half of the 29,554,000kW capacity (14,315,000kW). And the total capacity of non-residential (10kW or higher capacity) solar systems reached 7,339,000kW, surpassing that of residential systems (6,976,000kW) for the first time.

Also, the total capacity of renewable energy-based power generation systems certified as FIT facilities became 68,642,000kW, a 66% increase from the end of February 2014 (41,205,000kW). The rapid increase in the total capacity of certified systems is accounted for by the total capacity of certified non-residential solar power generation systems, which increased by 72% from the end of February 2014 (36,516,000kW to 63,038,000kW). In other words, it increased by 26,520,000kW, which is equivalent to the capacity of 26 nuclear power plants, only in a month.

The total capacity of certified non-residential solar systems rapidly increased because the tariff under the FIT scheme decreased from ¥36 (approx US$0.35, excluding tax) per 1kWh in fiscal 2013 to ¥32 (excluding tax) in fiscal 2014, triggering a rush of last-minute applications. The increase rate of the total capacity of certified non-residential solar systems was significant in prefectures in the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions of Japan (100% to 200% increase from the end of February 2014). It increased by 200% or more in the Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. In Miyagi Prefecture, it increased by 240% from 805,000kW to 2,789,000kW in one month.

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