In general, the tale of photovoltaics in Europe has been a success story, albeit one not completely devoid of obstacles and hurdles. The idea of producing clean energy was pushed by tailwinds when CO2 emissions skyrocketed and the catastrophic Fukushima incident once more made us recognize the hazards of nuclear energy. However, the PV industry still has a long way to go to reach its full potential.
After Fukushima, Japan’s nuclear power fleet went offline with plans to restart only when safety concerns could be addressed. On his first day at the office, the new environment minister has said he has no intention of ever restarting the reactors. The move could put Shinjiro Koizumi at loggerheads with PM Shinzo Abe, a vocal proponent of nuclear.
The Japanese utility will set up a new, separate company early next year to oversee its renewables generation business, but says it remains committed to developing 6-7 GW of new projects in the years ahead.
Solar in Japan: As Japan continues to wean itself off nuclear power, solar PV has assumed a vital role in aiding the transition to renewable energy. In Fukushima, a series of solar plants have already been installed, but one new addition to the region – a module fab – poses an altogether different set of challenges and opportunities, as pv magazine’s managing editor Ian Clover found out.
NTT Facilities has connected 23.37 MW of solar capacity to the grid in eastern Japan’s Fukushima prefecture.
With nuclear reactors in Japan still struggling to get restarted, amid continuing safety concerns, some believe the nuclear power industry might find it hard to recover, while the momentum behind renewable energy doesnt look like it’ll be reversed.
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