The tender produced lower bids than previous rounds but again allocated less generation capacity than planned. The Japanese government initially accepted bids for a combined 589.9 MW but ended up assigning only 195.8 MW of capacity. The final average price for procured solar power was $0.1222/kWh.
Though we’re unlikely to see a return to the days of double-figure GW annual installation levels, Japan will stay at the top table of solar. Last week, pv magazine visited PV Expo Japan, part of Tokyo’s World Smart Energy Week, and found plenty of market developments to discuss, along with healthy interest from major players.
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 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.
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.
Kyocera will participate in a new project in northern Japan to test how flexibly electricity suppliers can respond to fluctuations in energy supply and demand.
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