Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Best Solar FiT in the World.

We all know that Solar panel costs have fallen 50% in the past twelve months, whilst increasing in their efficiency rating.
So how would you like to purchase the very latest, super efficient PV panels at today's prices? It could be your chance to install the system of your dreams. After the installation how would you like to sign up to a feed in tariff which pays you .34p for every kWh you produce? Probably generating a return on investment of approximately 20%.

Well it is possible...One country in the world has belatedly woken up to the global energy crisis and has introduced one of the most attractive  FiT rates for alternative energy generation. The only small problem is you have to move to Japan.

The new tariffs were introduced earlier this month. Anything up to a 10kWp system will receive the new rate guaranteed for 10 years.
My immediate thought was that they were a reaction to the tragedy which struck the country.  However, The law was approved on the morning of March 11, 2011, by the then Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet, just a few hours before the Great East Japan Earthquake and monster tsunami hit, claiming some 19,000 lives and putting the government's long-pushed nuclear power goals totally out of public favour. 

Japan after the Fukushima disaster has set out on a plan to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix which is currently abysmally low. Japan has very low capacity in wind and solar energy compared to the more environmentally conscious developed countries like Germany. 

It seems strange that governments all over the world seem unable to understand or support the fledgling solar industries. Ironically, Japan  led the solar market in the period till 2005 and then abruptly stopped its support.  (Anything sound familiar here)?

The Japanese solar industry (which is second to the Chinese even today), has suffered as the domestic demand went into decline. That policy will now be reversed as targets are being set for 25% - 35% of all energy produced will be alternative, within the next two decades.

Compare Japan and Germany with the present Conservative government. David Cameron came into power promising to be "the greenest ever" administration. Unfortunately, It has consistently wobbled on reaching the legal requirement  of 15% renewable energy by 2020.Link to report. 

The chances of us becoming a leader in manufacturing the technology seem remote as the mantra of reducing the deficit seems to take priority over progress and jobs.

Sometimes this Summer it seems like a tsunami has hit this country with the amount of rain pouring down. We'll all end up sitting on the roof admiring the PV panels as the flood level rises..... 

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

1 comment:

  1. We were in Fukushima prefecture in January 2012. My in-laws live there. There had already been a massive surge in installation across the region. The Japanese are also forging ahead with PV + storage, recognising that to get maximum benefit, you have to be able to store the energy for use at night or in the face of a now struggling grid infrastructure and generating short-fall from the closure of so many nuclear plants.

    My sister-in-law and father-in-law were both early adopters with a 3kW PV system at their homes in Tokyo and a 5kW array on the house in Miharu. The 5kW array uses hybrid crystalline / thin film modules. My father-in-law also has a air source heat pump that runs on the solar power to make hot water and changed the gas cooker to a high efficiency induction cooker.

    Since our last trip back a couple of years before, there has been a big increase in the number of solar installations and I've seen new builds with integrated thin film roofs.

    Lots of electric bicycles this time round too!

    Solar thermal has been popular in Japan for a long time. Even some old temples have solar thermal collectors! You see lots of old flat plate collectors with big header tanks around Japan on rural roof tops.