05 April 2012, 17:26 BST
We've written about many (if not all) of the topics below in the past year or so. But this is a great little summary of the rapid solar growth occurring in Japan at the moment, from the Marketing Director of Kyocera Solar Corporation (a leading solar panel company), and I figured it was worth a share, so here it is (I've just pulled out what I think are the key sections):
Even before the 11 March 2011 disasters, the domestic solar market was experiencing high growth, with more than 1GW of domestic shipments of solar power equipment for residential, industrial, commercial and utility-scale installations in fiscal year 2011; up almost 160% from the year before.
Aided by the restart of the national subsidy program for residential solar power in January 2009, and a feed-in tariff program that was also started in November of the same year, which purchases excess energy at 42 Yen/kWh for installations smaller than 10kW*2, it is expected that up through the end of March 2012 more than one million homes in Japan will have installed solar power. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the number of installations will continue to increase annually by roughly 12% in the coming years.
Still, following the March disasters, the Japanese government quickly moved to support renewable energies passing a revamped feed-in tariff (FiT) bill which is slated to go into effect 1 July, 2012, and will purchase not only excess power, but all power generated by solar installations over 10kW. The purchase price per kilowatt and length of the new FiT are still undecided, but favorable conditions would be certain to further stimulate the solar market and adoption of renewable energies.
... there is a growing trend toward energy self-sufficiency on a local and individual level. The number of applications for residential-use solar subsidies ballooned to 215,178 in the period from April 2011 to January 2012, up 140% from the previous year. Following the March disasters, solar companies have also come up with new solutions to meet these energy needs. One such example is Kyocera's all-in-one energy management system (EMS) which combines a solar power generating system with a lithium-ion battery storage unit. This technology not only provides back-up energy in the event of a blackout or natural disaster, but can also help lower consumption from the grid during peak hours by efficiently controlling energy use from solar power, the battery unit and the grid.
"Schematic of energy use flow using Kyocera's solar power generating system & energy management system with Nichicon's power storage unit."
By 2020, it is believed that 70% of new homes will come equipped with solar power, thus allowing more and more people to generate their own clean energy.
Aside from residential solar, commercial and utility-scale solar are also booming in Japan - read a bit more on that via the link below.
Source: Solar Novus
Source: Clean Technica