The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Japan's Solar Market Poised for Return to Elite Status

Last year, the Japanese government announced the creation of a national feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar, joining Germany and China in creating robust public policy to drive deployment of renewable energy. The program is set to launch on July 1 and solar is regarded as one of the brightest spots in the Japanese recovery from the tsunami.

The new program will guarantee payment of 40 Yen/kWh ($0.50) for solar energy produced by projects >10kw (non-residential) and 42 Yen/kWh ($0.53) for energy from projects <10kw (residential) for twenty and ten years, respectively. Today, installed system prices in Japan far exceed global norms – 2011 system costs averaged about $6.25/w reflecting a high cost of regulation, grid connection, land, labor and construction costs in Japan as well as a module supply largely dominated by higher priced domestic manufacturers. Solar panel prices in 2011 ranged from 150 to 200Yen/watt ($1.90-2.70/w) which is almost twice what installers in the U.S. pay.

Analysts agree that the FiT is high and a revision is expected in March 2013, likely contemplating lower installation and panel costs as large scale system installers gain experience and lower cost imported modules capture a greater share of the market. Although the government expects the current FiT to create internal rate of returns of 6 percent for non-residential and 3 percent for residential systems, analysts predict higher returns as module competition increases. Domestic manufacturers like Panasonic, Kyocera and Sharp dominate the Japanese market today with strong brand recognition and good product reliability. SunPower, Suntech and Canadian Solar are the biggest non-domestic players, but other panel manufacturers like Trina Solar, Yingli Solar, and JA are positioning themselves to grab a piece of this increasingly important market.

Over the next few months, news rules are expected to reduce the cost, burden and delays associated with installing systems over 2MW. These changes as well as the new Energy Master Plan calling for 20-35% of energy generated by renewables is expected to accelerate Japan’s solar market. In 2011, approximately 1.3GW was installed and experts expect that number to grow to 2.3-2.5GW for 2012 and 3.0GW in 2013. Big box stores (like the U.S.’s Best Buy) are heralding the upcoming solar FiT tariff and enthusiasm for solar continues to grow. Longer term, Japan expects to have 28 GW of solar capacity installed by 2020 and 50 GW by 2030, making it among the top five global solar markets according to SolarBuzz.

And solar can’t get there soon enough… Following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima-Diachi, the Japanese nuclear program came under severe attack. Today, there are no working nuclear facilities in Japan, reducing the country’s energy generation capacity by 25 percent. With a hot summer looming, the Japanese expect significant power shortages to roll through the country. Solar is an excellent hedge against peak power spikes, since it produces the most energy during the heat of the day when air conditioning demand is highest.

A predicted steamy summer and the scheduled FiT reduction in March 2013 could “heat” up the Japanese solar market like we haven’t seen since the Italian market took off in 2010. Kampai!

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


Array Technologies Finalizes Shipments to E.ON’s Maricopa West Solar Project

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has completed DuraTrack® HZ shipments to the 20 MW (ac) ...

Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World Magazines Name Projects of the Year Awards Finalists

Tulsa, Okla. and Nashua, N.H., Oct. 5, 2015 -- The editors of Power Engineering and Ren...

Sun Xtender® Launches New Website at

The newly designed website for Sun Xtender solar batteries is now live on the World Wid...

Canadian Solar Closes Purchase of Ontario Assets from KKR

Canadian Solar Purchased 3 Solar Power Plants Totaling 59.8 MW AC from KKR


energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...

The Whirlwind Known As Tradeshow Season 2015

Wow. What a tradeshow season 2015 is turning out to be! Hot on the heels of Intersolar and SPI, next week we’re...


Cathy is responsible for crafting and articulating Applied’s energy policy strategy for energy efficiency solutions, energy generation and energy storage, all of which Applied is accelerating with its nanomanufacturing expertise. She also leads Ap...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar fina...

Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar financing...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...

Join us at the New Solar Power Northeast

From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sold out P...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now