Projects not progressing put on notice in Japan

Japan has approved a vast number of PV projects under the FIT regime it launched in mid 2012, in the wake of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster. METI figures show that 65,726 projects have been approved by the department as qualifying for the generous FITs. This totals around 37.5 GW of new PV capacity.

Despite this, only 13% of these projects have been constructed, totaling almost 9 GW of PV generation capacity – since the FIT regime came into effect.

Because of the lack of progress of a large number of projects, they are now in the process of being reviewed by METI, if they have not moved towards acquiring suitable land and purchasing equipment. Bloomberg reported that METI official Nobuhiro Watanabe made this announcement today. Watanabe is in charge of renewable development at METI.

The amount of projects that have their FIT allocation cancelled could be as high as 20% or 30%, some Japanese PV market observers believe. This would represent many GWs of installed capacity.

On top of the review, METI has put in place the requirement that approved projects will now have a six month deadline, from approval to securing land and equipment, as of April 1.

On top of difficulties in securing land, RTS Corporation believes that grid constraints are also a limiting factor for some development. The Japanese solar market analysts believe that because of these factors 2014 and 2015 will be the peak years for new installed capacity in Japan, declining in 2017 and hitting a low in 2018, before bouncing back.

pv magazine will launch a special series of online features on the Japanese PV market tomorrow, from the PV Japan event that took place last week in Tokyo.