New Hampshire, USA — Toshiba announced plans this week to install 100-megawatts (MW) worth of PV plants in the devastated Fukushima region of Japan as the solar industry continues to jockey to take advantage of lucrative Feed-in Tariffs announced to take hold at the beginning of July.
Japan, which installed 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of solar in 2011 expects to see that number spike as high as 4.7 GW by the end of 2012. Currently, renewables make up little more than 1 percent of the nation’s energy mix.
Toshiba’s plant — bigger than a 70-MW project announced earlier by Kyocera — expects to come online by 2014. According to analysts, Kyocera, Panasonic and Sharp are among the entrenched Japanese companies that could benefit from the expected $9.6 billion investment that is expected to follow the 53-cent per kilowatt hour payout.
Chinese solar powers Yingli and Suntech are already moving ahead with plans to tap into the surging Japanese market while thin-film maker Solar Frontier remains a strong candidate to fill a good portion of the domestic market. One question still to be decided is whether First Solar will be able to take advantage of the new demand. First Solar’s thin film panels use cadmium telluride, which is banned in Japan.
Vestas Closes China Factory: Danish wind turbine maker Vestas is to close a factory in China after already scrapping plans for a manufacturing plant in the UK. Vestas announced today that up to 350 jobs would be lost as a result of the closure of the Hohhot factory.
Suzlon Gains on China Wind Sale: Suzlon Energy shares ended higher on Monday after the wind energy firm said that it has sold its Chinese manufacturing subsidiary to China Power (Tianjin) New Energy Development Company for Rs 340 crore.
Chinese Seek Duty on U.S. Silicon: Chinese polysilicon makers are pressing their government to impose duties on U.S. imports, a move to drive up prices for competing supplies of the material used in solar panels, four people familiar with the issue said.
Deals Near on Two Indonesia Geothermal Projects: Panax Geothermal’s Indonesian geothermal projects have made progress with finalisation of power purchase agreements for two projects expected soon.
Japan’s Renewable Advocate: Long-time renewable energy advocate and anti-nuclear activist Tetsuya Iida announced he is running for governor of Yamaguchi prefecture as an independent candidate. Iida has a good chance at upsetting the nominees of the two traditional parties. Iida, head of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, was instrumental in the formation of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation.
Nepal Plans to Draw Hydro Investors: The Nepali Investment Board is hoping a recently approved hydropower development plan will help attract more than US$6 billion in investments.
Benefits of Hydro in India: With coal supply remaining erratic and controversies dogging nuclear energy, hydropower could hold the key to India’s energy security and put an end to power cuts, according to a study
Toward a Northeast Asia Renewable Energy Association: A detailed look at how northeast Asia is working to build a broad coalition on the united need for increased renewable energy.
Thailand’s Push for Solar: Thailand aims to produce up to 20 percent of its total electricity from renewables by 2022 and install 1 GW of solar capacity by 2020. The Ministry of Energy has already received applications from solar power companies for on-grid connections exceeding 2 GW, and the country plans to allocate 700 MW to PV and 1,300 MW to solar thermal.
Biomass and Biofuel in India: India produces about 450 million to 500 million tons of biomass per year. Biomass provides over 30 percent of all the primary energy used in the country at present. It is estimated that the potential in the short term for power from biomass in India varies from about 18,000 MW, when the scope of biomass is as traditionally defined, to a high of about 50,000 MW if one were to expand the scope of definition of biomass. The current share of biofuels in total fuel consumption is extremely low and is confined to just 5 percent blending of ethanol in gasoline, which the government has made mandatory in 10 states. Currently, biodiesel is not sold on the Indian fuel market, but the government plans to meet 20 percent of the country’s diesel requirements by 2020 using biodiesel.
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