Japanese Government Increases Solar PV Support
The Japanese government has a long history of promoting new energy sources – from supporting research and development, to creating programs that drive adoption. Early last year, the Japanese government unveiled its action plan for achieving a low-carbon society: with its largest-ever economic stimulus program – dedicating $55 billion over the next 5 years. The plan, which includes a huge boost for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, is aimed at making Japan a global leader in the development and implementation of core clean energy technologies like solar energy and electric cars.
Year 2010 is considered by many to be potentially a boom year for the Japanese solar market due to the government subsidies and the New Purchase System for Solar Power-Generated Electricity, started on November 1, 2009. The program is a net feed-in-tariff; paying generators of electricity from solar power systems a premium rate for excess energy fed into the grid. It requires utilities to purchase all solar electricity rather than just surplus electricity.
Japan’s Solar Market
The PV industry in Japan is still primarily export driven, and is competing with lower cost options from Asian competitors such as China and Taiwan. However, Japan produced more PV cells than any other country in 2007 with 920 MW manufactured. Yet its market share fell from 37% to 26% in 2006 – a testimony to growing acceptance of solar energy in other countries, such as Germany and Spain, and the strength of emerging PV cell producing countries.
Domestically, Japan had set a goal for getting 20% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020 – essentially doubling today’s levels and significantly boosting its solar PV industry. Moving beyond traditional residential rooftops, Japan is looking to outfit its schools and develop a solid utility-scale PV solar program to achieve this goal.
At Applied, we believe we can provide great support for our Japanese customers as they look to invest in new fabs. Whether it is for their domestic market or as they expand around the world, we are ready to deliver the systems and support infrastructure that will help make them be successful, so their solar futures can shine bright.