Japanese government crackdown led to 144 projects losing FiT approvals

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The Japanese government ministry responsible for energy has confirmed the cancellation of feed-in tariff (FiT) approval for 144 solar power projects that were without necessary equipment accreditation or land rights by a deadline that passed in May.

The 144 projects are reported to total around 290MW of capacity. A further 288 projects will be given until the end of August to get their documentation in order or face a similar fate.

It was widely reported that while around 35GW of large-scale PV projects were approved for FiT accreditation in the first two years of the FiT, which began in 2012, many were yet to break ground. This prompted the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to open a ‘survey’ or investigation into the status of these projects in October last year.

METI then issued two deadlines – by March, projects without land rights or equipment accreditation documents in place could lose their FiT approval, following a series of hearings. Meanwhile, projects with only land rights or equipment accreditation in place have been given until the end of August to obtain the necessary certification.

This applied to around 748 projects in total, of which 144 have now lost their FiTs in the wake of the first deadline expiring, it has emerged. It was widely know in the Japanese industry that cancellations had taken place, but this is thought to be the first confirmation of the cancellations, which METI announced last month.

Dr Hiroshi Matsukawa, of Japanese analysis firm RTS PV, recently told PV Tech’s sister publication Solar Business Focus some of the reasons why some cancelled projects never made it past the approved stage.

“One stakeholder in the land purposed for use might object. There have also been cases where solar parks have been sited on agricultural land – in Japan the procedure to get a solar project approved on agricultural land is very difficult to negotiate,” said Matsukawa.

“Other cases include where the construction cost has been found to be too high, if a farm was proposed for a site on a big hill, for example. In these cases it’s simply been impossible for the project to go ahead at all. The industry is maturing now, but in the 2012 fiscal year, there were some projects that were simply bad, close to what you could call fraudulent. To the point where some plots of land had been picked almost at random from Google Maps! These projects were ever unlikely to be more than a plan on a piece of paper.”

Japanese telecommunications provider Softbank has offered assistance to companies struggling to meet the August deadline.

Softbank, which is led by one of the country’s wealthiest men, clean energy advocate Masayoshi Son, has developed over 60MW of projects in Japan to date. The company has a long term plan to have installed 292.1MW of PV in Japan in total by end of the 2015 fiscal year.

Company spokesman Kenichi Yuasa confirmed to PV Tech’s sister publication Solar Business Focus recently that Softbank will be “sharing knowledge” and “offering support” to developers, without going into specifics.

A document also published last month details the impact of renewable energy policy in Japan over the period since the inception of the feed-in tariff. In 2009, the government first introduced a programme to buy back electricity generated from PV systems under 500kW capacity.

This applied mostly to systems much smaller than that capacity, in the residential space. According to the METI report, after the 2009 incentive programme was introduced, the increase in installed PV capacity in Japan almost doubled, from 5% yearly to a 9% increase in capacity yearly. However, based on the ministry’s own statistics, in the brief period since the introduction of the FiT in 2012, that annual increase has shot up to an average of 32%.

28 July 2021
LONGi has launched its Hi-MO N module, the company's first bifacial module with N-type TOPCon cells, designed to deliver ultra- high value and lower LCOE to utility-scale PV power plants. This PV TechTalk Product Series webinar will provide an overview of the module’s technology and how the introduction of n-type technologies will provide efficiency and performance gains for solar project developers.
29 July 2021
This free webinar will explore the ongoing opportunities in the UK solar PV market, looking at global technology trends and how they apply to the UK. Join us for an overview of the project pipeline and forecast for deployment over the coming years. We'll be looking at the types of modules available and being used in the UK and presenting a case study on the deployment of bifacial modules in this market.
19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?

Read Next

July 27, 2021
Greek industrial group Mytilineos recorded a net profit of €77 million (US$91 million) in H1 2021, however the firm’s renewables division witnessed a drop in revenue year-on-year.
July 27, 2021
Canadian Solar has closed a BRL500 million (US$100 million) financing facility to develop a Brazilian solar portfolio claimed to be the country’s largest, while also giving it the option to hold built solar assets for longer.
July 27, 2021
Community Choice Aggregators (CCA) Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) have signed contracts for 778MW of renewable energy generation and 118.75MW of energy storage in California.
July 27, 2021
More than 140 business leaders have urged the US Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling lawmakers that the bill is “desperately needed” to renew the nation’s infrastructure
July 27, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, featuring Vision Solar’s commitment to hire “hundreds” of sales staff as part of a two-state expansion, Recurrent Energy’s sale of two major assets in Texas and news of 8minute Solar Energy strengthening its legal team.
July 27, 2021
Tesla reported retrofit solar installations of 85MW in Q2 2021, cementing its recovery from a worst-ever performance in the corresponding period last year.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
July 29, 2021
Webinar
Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021