Japanese PV market booms: over 1 GW-AC put online in April, 10-12 GW-AC predicted for 2014


Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports that Japan connected 1.003 GW-AC of solar PV to the grid during April 2014, based on data from the nation's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

“What is happening in Japan is boom,” says BNEF Solar Insight Manager Jenny Chase. She notes that the nation has approved over 65 GW of solar PV projects through its feed-in tariff, and says that more of these are getting built.

“Developers are figuring out the next step. Getting land permissions, getting financing, getting the utility agreements to connect to the grid. And the economics of these projects are really very good.”

While Japan lowered feed-in tariff rates at the beginning of its fiscal year on April 1st, 2014, feed-in tariff approval is often the first step in a project. As such, plants put online in April received the previous, higher feed-in tariff rates.

Over the full year 2014, BNEF expects Japan to install 10.3-11.9 GW-AC, only slightly less than it predicts from China, the world's largest market. And while BNEF expects the nation's current PV boom to be followed by a bust, it also predicts that utility-scale PV installations to drop off “sometime after 2016”.

Popular content

More than half of the capacity put online in April at 587 MW-AC was installations in the 10 kw – 1 MW range, a segment dominated by commercial and institutional systems. BNEF estimates that only 85 MW-AC of residential PV was commissioned during the month, with utility-scale PV (over 1 MW) representing the remaining 331 MW-AC.

Raw METI data was inconclusive this month. The agency removed some residential projects from its statistics, resulting a negative residential PV figure from month to month. As such, BNEF's estimates for the residential sector are based on previous months.

Regardless, solar analytics firm RTS Corp. says that system integrators are moving to the commercial sector. “Providers of residential systems are now focusing on small-scale commercial applications with the capacity 10kW to <50kW,” says RTS' Izumi Kaizuka.

“The project owner can sell 100% of the energy and the sales is easier and profitable. In case of <10kW application, owners can only sell excess energy.”

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.