Shipments of solar cells and modules grew 80 percent in the July through September quarter in Japan, due the launch of the government’s strong incentive program for renewable energy at the beginning of the quarter.
Japan began feed-in-tariffs for solar back in July to stimulate investment in renewables in a big effort to transition from nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. The scheme requires power utilities to purchase clean energy at higher than market rates. However, even before the feed-in-tariff program started, solar imports were increasing in Japan. Back in 2008 imports of solar products made up only 0.1 percent of domestic shipments, but have been growing ever since.
Japan’s domestic shipments grew from 348 megawatts in the same quarter last year to 627 megawatts this year, according to the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association. Imports also tripled to 203 megawatts, and exports fell 57 percent to 153 megawatts. Cells and modules made outside Japan made up 32 percent of all domestic shipments in the quarter.
It seems Japan is already making strides in its effort to transition to a significant percentage of clean energy. Understandably, there is not a great deal of public support to nuclear energy after Fukushima, so that should help in the country’s efforts to significantly ramp up solar power and other renewables in the years ahead.
Image CC licensed by CoCreatr: Workers installing solar panels in Japan.