The movement to increase photovoltaic power generation expanded in FY 2010. The domestic PV market has now grown to the level of close to 1/GW of annual installed capacity thanks to the subsidy program for residential PV systems, and the start of a new program to purchase surplus PV power based upon the Act on the Promotion of the Use of Nonfossil Energy Sources and Effective Use of Fossil Energy Source Materials by Energy Suppliers. Other measures taken to promote photovoltaic power generation included:
1) The government established “New Growth Strategy” and “Basic Energy Plan” through a cabinet decision and showed its commitment to the dissemination of renewable energy.
2) The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) plotted out the detailed design of “Gross feed-in tariff program for renewable energy (feed in tariff for entire generated power)” and increased the budget for the subsidy program for residential PV systems (Subsidy for Installation of Residential Photovoltaic Systems) in order to achieve full-scale dissemination of renewable energy.
3) The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) started a 5-year technological development project titled “R&D of High Performance PV Generation System for the Future” based on the technological development roadmap, PV2010+
4) Over 600 local governments and municipalities implemented their own financial incentive programs to promote dissemination of residential PV systems, in conjunction with the national subsidy program.
5) The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA), a PV industrial association, published “PV OUTLOOK 2030” as a guideline for the Japanese PV industry, which laid out a new vision for 2030.
6) Utilities began construction of MW-scale PV power plants across the country. Operation of 100-MW level PV power plants will be underway by 2012.
7) Growth of the Japanese PV industry has been led by the residential market. Meanwhile, many overseas manufacturers entered to the Japanese market, along the emergence of new distribution channels such as electric appliances stores.
Installed PV power
Total annual installed capacity of PV systems reached 990 979 kW in 2010, a 105,2% increase from that of 2009 (482 976 kW). The trend of year-on-year increases exceeding 100% thus continued from 2009. This growth can be attributed to a subsidy program for residential PV systems launched in January 2009, and a program to purchase surplus PV power from systems with fewer than 10 kW at double its retail price, launched in November 2009.
The breakdown of PV systems installed in 2010 is as follows: 739 kW for off-grid domestic application, 3 422 kW for off-grid non-domestic application, and 974 225 kW for grid-connected distributed application (mainly residential PV systems). 12 593 kW was newly installed for grid-connected centralized application by utilities and local governments. Cumulative installed capacity of PV systems in Japan reached 3 618 144 kW in 2010.
Cost and Price
Installed PV capacity increased significantly, backed by the restart of a subsidy program for residential PV systems. Consequently, the prices of PV modules and residential PV systems decreased. The average price of PV modules for residential PV systems in 2010 dropped to 375 JPY/W from 402 JPY/W in 2009. Typical price of 3- to 5-kW residential PV systems largely decreased from 613 JPY/W in FY 2009 to 578 JPY/W in FY 2010. Price of PV systems with more than 10-kW generation capacity for public and industrial applications showed an increase from 547 JPY/W in FY 2009 to 615 JPY/W in 2010.
Production volume of solar cells and PV modules in Japan in 2010 increased to 2 311 MW from 1 334 MW in 2009, achieving a year-on-year increase of 73,2%. The import volume in 2010 was 125,6 MW, more than double 2009′s 52 MW.
The breakdown of production volume was as follows: 785 652 kW of single crystalline silicon (sc-Si) solar cells,1 178 913 kW of multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) solar cells, 269 480 kW of amorphous silicon (a-Si) solar cells, and 77 339 kW of other types of solar cells.
The market share of crystalline Si solar cells is 85%. Multicrystalline Si solar cells have been overwhelmingly dominating the solar cell market in Japan over the past 14 years, with supports from the expanding utility markets such as a market for residential application, and growth of exporting amounts. Amorphous Si PV module manufacturers are expanding production capacity to supply mainly to offshore utility markets. CIS/CIGS PV modules, which went into commercial production in 2007, are categorized as ‘other’ types of solar cells.