Japan: The Rise of Solar Energy

Japan: The Rise of Solar Energy

If you thought that Japan was already left behind on the race for green and clean energy, then you’re wrong.

According to the new data collected by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s solar photovoltaics (PV) rose dramatically from 2.7% in 2015 to a whopping 4.3% in 2016. Solar’s contribution to Japan’s energy mix soared during the second half of 2016, when solar PV accounted for more than 5% of all electricity generation. Together, all renewable energy sources together represented 14.2% of production during 2016. Hydroelectric power represented the largest share of renewable energy, followed by solar and smaller amounts of biomass, wind and geothermal.

In the wake of Fukushima nuclear crisis, Japan has implemented a series of measures to reform the nation’s electricity system, including liberalization of retail supply and legal unbundling of power generation and transmission and distribution planned for April 2020. The Feed-in Tariff system implemented in 2012 to promote renewable energy deployment is also one of the measures designed to change the shape of the electricity market.

It is fairly low level of electricity volume has been traded on the wholesale market. In June 2016 for example, traded electricity accounting for only around 2.6% of the total electricity demand. Similarly, only about 3.3% of all retail customers have switched their suppliers from major utilities to new power suppliers since the implementation of retail liberalization. By contrast, renewable energy such as solar PV has rapidly increased. In areas of specific utilities, there are some days when the share of renewable energy provides as much as 80% of the electricity demand.

Japan’s solar feed-in tariff is currently capped at the regional level. Deployment levels are currently approaching the caps in several regions, including Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa and Shikoku as a result of recent growth trends.

Author: Darvin Tocmo

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