Chart: Japan to see a solar power boom

In the wake of one of the world’s largest nuclear power disasters in history last year in Japan, the country is re-thinking its energy policy and looking to provide incentives to boost clean power starting this July. And the pending start of the incentive program has inspired many Japanese energy companies to work on solar power projects including Kyocera, which announced on Tuesday a plan to co-develop a 70 MW solar farm in southern Japan.
Kyocera, a long-time solar panel maker, will band tougher with IHI and Mizuho Corporate Bank to work on not only the 70 MW project but also other solar power plants as well. The project is estimated to cost about 25 billion in yen ($309.6 million) and is supposed to go under construction in July this year.
Last August, the Japanese government passed a law to create the incentive program that will require utilities to buy various sources of renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal, under long-term contracts. Japan has historically been quite supportive of solar and wind energy development, but in recent years other countries that have offered more generous subsidies have surpassed Japan in clean power installations. The country already has some of the world’s largest solar panel makers, including Panasonic, Sharp and Solar Frontier (part of Showa Shell).
The new incentive program, which will require utilities to buy renewable energy at premium prices, could create quite a boom for solar and wind project developers and manufacturers, said market research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In fact, under the current pricing proposal, solar project developers could get equity returns as high as 44 percent and add 10 GW of new solar power by 2014, the market research firm said last month. The returns could reach as high as 51 percent for wind projects.
Here’d a list of some of the solar projects that have been proposed or completed in Japan in the past year:

Company Project size Location
Kyocera, IHI, Mizuho Bank 70 MW (proposed) Kagoshima City 
Softbank 200 MW (proposed) Tomakomai
Meidensha, Solar Frontier 10 MW (completed) Yamanashi Prefecture
Japan Asia Group and Solar Frontier over 100 MW (proposed) Not-yet announced
Softbank, Kyocera 4.2 MW (proposed) Kyoto
Softbank, Sharp 2.4 MW (proposed) Gunmna Prefecture
Softbank 5.6 MW (proposed) Tokushima Prefecture
Mitsubishi 1 MW (proposed) Kumamoto Prefecture
Softbank, Mitsui 30 MW (proposed) Tottori Prefecture
Kintetsu 20 MW (proposed) Mie Prefecture
Eurus Energy 40 MW (proposed) Hyogo Prefecture

Photo courtesy of Solar Frontier