High demand for PV in Japan
A dramatic cut in subsidies does not stop Japanese citizens from investing in solar.
By April 30, three weeks after the start of the FY 2004 application period on April 8, New Energy Foundation (NEF) had received 6,873 applications for subsidies from the Japanese Residential PV Dissemination Program. Only seven days later, by May 7, the number had grown to 7,829. Last year, after the application period for FY 2003 was launched on April 21, NEF had obtained
»only« 7,704 in the first five weeks until May 30. »This makes a good start for FY
2004,« says NEF's Masamitsu Obashi. The Japanese PV community was a bit worried about the reaction from the domestic market, since both the PV program budget, at ¥5.25 billion ($47.5 million), and the subsidy, at ¥45,000 ($407) per kW, have been halved from the previous year (see PI 5/2004, p. 65).
According to the May issue of newsletter PV Activities in Japan, NEF received 52,863 applications for FY 2003, which equals around 201 MW, compared to 38,262 applications totaling 141 MW in the fiscal year before. Not only did the average system size increase from 3.7 to 3.81 kW, last year's demand also
»bumped up« the ratio of houses with PV compared to houses without PV: at the end of FY 2003, 3.47 of 1,000 Japanese houses were adorned with a PV system, compared to 2.38 a year
© PHOTON International, June 2004