More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began, Japan is on the fast track to becoming one of the largest solar PV markets in the world, overtaking both Germany and Italy.
Similar to the other two countries, Japan’s solar panel industry will be fueled by feed-in tariffs. Companies Panasonic and Sharp are said to be the main beneficiaries with incentives of 42 yen per killowatt-hour, a tariff that utilities will pay solar power producers starting next month.
After the Fukushima disaster and the shutting down of many nuclear power plants in Japan, this new policy is driven by the desire for some serious change. There’s a big gap in the grid where clean energy can replace nuclear power, which previously supplied 228 gigawatts, 21% of Japan’s power.
In 2011, only 1.6% of Japan’s energy came from renewable sources. One big concern is price shocks if Japan needed to import a substantial portion of its clean energy. Between the lack of domestic fuel supplies and island location, this attempt to steer clear of nuclear energy could prove to be costly to begin with, no matter how clean.
Hopefully Japan will stick to its new dedication to cleaning up its energy sources, even though the initial cost may be high. If it works out well, it won’t be long before many other countries start to follow suit.