With the transition to an auction procurement mechanism under way, Japan is this year set to expand the range of projects subject to the tender system from 2 MW-plus to 500 kW and above. With certain FIT cuts for projects with more than 2 MW capacity set to take effect in the second half of the year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has now proposed reducing tariffs for 10-500 kW commercial PV systems.
A research team has conducted a demonstration of the economic feasibility of battery-assisted, low-cost hydrogen production from solar. The scientists claim their system will mean hydrogen could be produced for $0.15-0.25 per cubic meter in 2030.
The acquisition of a 4.8 MW solar plant in the Kyoto prefecture and creation of a joint venture with Japanese storage specialist Exergy are part of the group’s 2020 plan to diversify its business into renewables and acquire 1 GW of capacity in them.
South Korean manufacturer LG said import tariffs and panel price depreciation led to lower profit for its B2B division. Japanese electronics company Kyocera saw the revenue of its Life & Environment Group fall by 26%, year-on-year, in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.
A Teikoku Databank report says as many as 95 solar companies went bankrupt last year – seven more than in 2017. The company warns the negative trend that began in 2016 may escalate as FIT reductions for large-scale solar come into effect.
The warning was made by the nation’s Consumer Affairs Agency, which claims 172 fire accidents occurred in Japan from 2008 to 2017. The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association said it will provide homeowners with the relevant information and stressed fire risk should not be used as an argument against the energy transition.
Companies in the United States accounted for more than 60% of the clean energy deals signed by corporations worldwide last year, according to BloombergNEF. A proposed renewable portfolio standard for Chinese business, though, could turn the picture upside down in a year’s time.
In last month’s exercise, final prices were slightly lower than those seen in previous procurements and the total allocated capacity was 196.6 MW. Through the three tenders held by the Japanese government, around 500 MW of solar was assigned, against a target of 1-1.5 GW. Land availability, grid constraints and high labor costs make projects expensive and force developers to use mountainous regions.
The global market stagnated last year, with around 98 GW deployed. For 2019, the experts expect stronger solar growth, provided there are no setbacks in China.
Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology have developed a process for the creation of perovskite cells with better than 20% efficiency. The cells use a tin-oxide electron transport layer, which the scientists say can triple their operational lifetime.
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