Almost 10% of Japan’s 2012 large-scale PV projects now officially cancelled

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A survey into Japan’s approved but unbuilt solar PV projects from the 2012 fiscal year has produced another set of definitive results, with 1.82GW of cancellations announced by the government this week.

Yasuhiro Goto, deputy director of Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, a division of the influential Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) confirmed the figure to PV Tech this morning. Goto said the ministry would not be naming developers involved in the cases due to the wish to respect privacy and reputation.

However a specially convened working group that looked into the projects and 2012 approved projects made its findings public. Documents released by the group and posted in Japanese on the METI website show that 1.82GW, 9.7% of financial year 2012’s approved projects, have been cancelled, while hearings are now expected to be held for a further 2.7GW of 2012 approvals.

Conversely, the ministry’s working group said 8.8GW, or 47% of 2012’s projects were already connected or had produced the necessary documentation to go ahead with construction.

The document details some of the main reasons for project cancellations, placing emphasis on the grid connection issues that have become a stumbling block to much development in the remote northern island region of Hokkaido and the equally remote sub-tropical southern island region of Okinawa. It was not immediately clear from the working group’s document how many projects this applied to.

There had originally been some intimation that due to the relatively lucrative FiT rates offered in 2012 when Japan’s tariff programme was launched and the ease of obtaining FiT approval as long as accredited equipment was used, some developers had applied for projects at the 2012 rate and waited until costs went down to start actually developing their projects, thus maximising profits. Last week, METI told PV Tech that a deadline at the end of August for developers of 2012-approved projects had met with a good response.

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