September 24, 2013

Japan: World’s Hottest Solar Energy Bonanza is the Land of the Rising Sun in 2013

High-efficiency photovoltaic technology is favorable in Japan with their ability to power from smaller home and rooftops. This would also be a great opportunity for Alfred Jost’s, CEO of Solar Bankers’, patented game-changing high-efficiency innovative solar module to saturate the market– using less silicon and area to produce energy efficiently.

Solar energy is decidedly the focus of attention and investment in Japan in the wake of the costly ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima.  And, Japanese energy suppliers know that while conventional electric plants are not so costly, they create too much pollution and emit too much CO2 into the atmosphere.  Many in the green, renewable energy field remain daunted by the high costs of doing business in Japan, especially given the small size of the country vis-à-vis China, Brazil, India, etc.  However, what they miss is that the higher cost of doing business in Japan implies the higher energy costs — and thus the higher profits to be made — per energy unit.  Japan is many times smaller than, say, China, but the energy cost per unit is many times higher than in China, and each Japanese person uses much more electric power than does the average Chinese person.

Goldman Sachs is well aware of this Japanese advantage, and has been planning to invest in Japan’s green renewable energy market at the optimal time, as reported by Shigeru Sato in Bloomberg Magazine on May 20, 2013:

“Goldman Sachs to Invest $486 Million in Japan Renewable Energy

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to invest as much as 50 billion yen (US$487 million) in renewable energy projects in Japan in the next five years, tapping demand for electricity produced from solar and wind-power generators. The Wall Street firm also plans to take as much as 250 billion yen of bank loans and project-financing over the same period to move ahead with projects that would cost a total of 300 billion yen, Hiroko Matsumoto, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for Goldman, said by telephone. The Nikkei newspaper reported the plan earlier today. Japan began offering incentives in July through feed-in tariffs to encourage renewables after the Fukushima nuclear-plant crisis stemming from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Japan has been forced to slash its reliance on atomic power generation since Fukushima. Goldman Sachs formed the Japan Renewable Energy Co. unit in August to plan, design and operate power plants run on sun, wind, fuel cells and biomass fuels, it said on its website

Investor Attraction

Renewable energy has attracted interest from investors ranging from billionaire Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Corp. and financial-services company Orix Corp. to the country’s biggest banks led by Mizuho Financial Group Inc….Japan will probably become the largest solar (& wind with VAWT) market in the world after  China this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg….

Despite the rosy outlook for solar and other renewable energies in Japan at present, some investors worry whether demand and institutional support can remain strong in Japan for the foreseeable future, and whether Japanese producers and suppliers won’t make extra efforts to take market share from the foreign concerns now entering the market.

Prior to the disaster that struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March of 2011, Japan had 50 nuclear reactors with a production capacity of 50 GW. To this day, just two of the 50 reactors have been restarted. Gradually, Japan will be powering up their nuclear reactors as they pass safety checks and defeat the protests and concerns of anti-nuclear backers.

With 25 percent of base load power lost from the nuclear shutdown, Japan imports fossil fuels to satisfy demand. This is not only non-ecofriendly but also increases the utility rate of the Japanese consumers. With solar as a candidate to fill in for the energy shortage, Japan will have to prepare for significant market growth. The strong performance in the first quarter, having shipped 1.7GW, indicates a remarkable start to the sudden growth of the Japan PV market.  If subsequent growth holds steady, the Japanese PV market will reach 5.3GW in 2013 — with the possibility of reaching 6.1GW.

The potential is so great that it actually places Japan in a position to surpass Germany and Italy and come in second, right next to China, the current solar market leader; this also makes Japan number one in the global market in dollars, while China remains crowned number one in wattage. The escalation is encouraged through the high 38 cent per kWh feed-in tariff (FIT), with a ten-year term for small rooftops and twenty years for larger installations.

The following data is taken from Eric Wesoff’s article on, “Japan: the World’s Hottest Solar Market in 2013,” July 22nd, 2013:

  • Residential installs 1Q13: 356 megawatts
  • Commercial installs 2Q12 to Feb. 2013 (10 kilowatts to 1 megawatt): 309 megawatts
  • Large-scale installs 2Q12 to Feb. 2013 (>1 megawatt): 110 megawatts
  • Commercial applications 2Q12 to Feb. 2013: 4,575 megawatts
  • Large-scale applications 2Q12 to Feb. 2013: 6,436 megawatts
  • Residential shipments 1Q13: 562 megawatts — up 70 percent over 1Q12.
  • Commercial shipments 1Q13: 407 megawatts — up 89 percent over 4Q12 and 5,187 percent over 1Q12.
  • Large-scale shipments 1Q13: 762 megawatts — up 146 percent over 4Q12 and 1,378 percent over 1Q12.
  • Total shipments 1Q13: 1,734 megawatts

If foreign solar investors and suppliers stay focused and disciplined, they will succeed in providing solar and other renewable energies to Japan in a steady, sustainable way that will promise solid growth and profits for decades to come. Solar Bankers is poised to lead the field with its new low-cost high-efficiency technology.


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