Japan’s fourth solar auction concludes with lowest bid of $0.098/kWh


Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced the results of the summer’s 300 MW auction for solar projects with a generation capacity of more than 500 kW.

The ministry said it had initially accepted 146 project proposals with a combined capacity of 589.9 MW for review before procuring 63 projects with a total installed capacity of 195.8 MW.

The lowest price for solar energy generated by a successful project was ¥10.50/kWh ($0.0988) and the highest ¥13.99 for an average price of ¥12.98. METI had set a ceiling price of ¥14/kWh, ¥1 less that the final average price of ¥15.01 posted in the previous auction, held in January. The earlier round, for projects of the same size, also allocated less than the 300 MW of capacity originally intended, settling on 196.6 MW of new projects.

Few big facilities

Successful projects in the latest tender included only four with more than 2 MW capacity, the larger facilities ranging in size from 20-35 MW. The remaining projects were all small solar parks. Japanese infrastructure company Japan Asia Group was among the successful developers, along with Toyota Motor Corporation; the First Solar Japan unit of the U.S. module manufacturer; and Ciel et Terre Japan, the local subsidiary of the French floating PV specialist.

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As a result of the lower-than-expected assigned capacity, METI will allocate 416.1 MW in the next solar auction, which will be held in the October-to-April first half of the Japanese fiscal year. That fifth procurement round was originally planned to procure 300 MW of new solar.

Prices slowly falling

Having fallen steeply from the level seen in Japan’s first two solar auctions, the solar energy price declined only marginally in the latest tender and still sits well above PV power prices recorded in several other markets. In the first procurement round held in Japan the final average price came in at ¥19.6/kWh, and in the second ¥16.47.

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