Japan: 10 GW of solar in 2015, 85 GW of renewables approved since 2012


According to PVMA, global installed solar PV capacity reached "at least" 51 GW in 2015, under the 57 GW calculated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Of this total, Japan is said to have installed around 10 GW, of which 7.4 GW were installed by the end of September under the country’s FIT program.

Based on information from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and reported by Bloomberg, the country has approved a whopping 85.55 GW of renewable energy projects under its incentive program, introduced in 2012. Of that, 23.65 GW are said to have come online by the end of September.

Solar is leading the renewable charge in the country, with the Ministry approving 79.76 GW of solar projects, around 29% of which are already said to be operational. Cumulative solar PV capacity in 2014 stood at 23.3 GW, according to BNEF. It calculated in December that a further 12.6 GW are expected to be added in 2015, before installations decrease in 2016 and 2017.

According to Bloomberg, METI hosted a task force meeting yesterday to discuss the tariffs for clean energy producers beginning on April 1. In December, it was announced that Japan would end tax breaks for commercial solar installations at the end of this coming March.

The end of the tax break will come into effect one day before Japan officially liberalizes its electricity market. Currently, it is dominated by 10 regional utilities. This will change on April 1, 2016, however, when the country opens its retail electricity market, valued at US$67 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, earlier in December, the ministry concluded talks regarding the future of the nation’s solar sector, with the likelihood now growing that auctions for large-scale solar projects will be introduced by fiscal year 2017.