Images: Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association
Sarcasm, snarcasm. When Reuters notes that solar subsidies are "failing" in Japan, you had better read between the lines. Big media may be in big trouble, but why do they always have to put a negative spin on everything?
Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association told Reuters that over 20,000 households has recently applied for a ¥70,000 ($700) subsidy per kW of solar panel equipment. "Failing"? I don't agree: things are looking more bright here than ever.
Japan wants to support households and others who are thinking of installing PV panels. I would say they are taking all the right steps:
Greater spending on solar power systems is expected to be a key feature of Japan's new stimulus plan, its fourth such package in the last year. The plan is expected to include fiscal spending of up to $150 billion...
A top economic and fiscal policy advisory committee said last month that Japan should increase its solar power capacity 20-fold by 2020 from 2005 levels, double its previous target. In January, the government introduced a subsidy of 70,000 yen ($700) per kilowatt of solar panel equipment...
If you got $700 to install PV panels, would you complain?
What environmentalists here never fail to mention is how Japan's government suddenly pulled the plug on PV subsidies back in March, 2006. Big mistake. Consistent policies and continued support, even if they are kept at a low level, are crucial if you want lots of people to join. Now, Reuters notes that homeowners are concerned about making big investments, especially as solar power is expected to become cheaper and more efficient in coming years:
"People say they would rather wait until the cost halves in 3 to 5 years, which is what the government has forecast," said Etsuko Akiba, head of media relations at the Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists.
PV Japan, a major solar fair in June, 2009, will be the main event here for the global solar-photovoltaic industry co-organized by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) and Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA). Japan Council for Renewable Energy is among the sponsors.
More PV in Japan:
Japanese Solar Photovoltaic Market Grows 40+%/Year
Japan To Subsidize Solar Panels For Your House
Ota City: Solar Capital Of The World?
15 Photovoltaics Solar Power Innovations You Must See
Brought to you by Martin Frid at greenz.jp