San Diego, Calif. — Several analysts are predicting that Japan may add over 10 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity for 2014, exceeding that of China. Exceeding 10 GW means an annual growth of at least 33 percent more than the previous year. In the mist of the temporary hold of grid connection approvals placed by 5 out of the 10 utilities, can Japan still grow to be the No 1 position in the world?
According to the latest figures released by the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA), Japan installed 2.4 GW of on-grid PV capacity in the third quarter of this year (or second quarter fiscal year in Japan). This represents the second largest quarterly PV installation since the nation’s generous feed-in tariff (FIT) program launched in July 2012.
With the strong third quarter result, for the first nine months of this year, Japan installed about 7 GW of on-grid PV capacity. If Japan adds 3 GW more during this quarter, or an average 1 GW each month, Japan will no doubt hit the 10-GW mark.
Data provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) shows a similar picture. METI is a federal agency, which determines the FIT rates and receives and gives approval to the FIT applications nationwide.
Based on METI’s data, the nation installed 5.5 GW worth of PV capacity under the FIT program between January and August of this year or the average monthly installation capacity of 0.7 GW.