Japanese Solar Market Grows to US$24 Bil

2014/08/25 17:30
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

The Japanese market for solar power generation systems grew to about ¥2.5 trillion (approx US$24 billion) in fiscal 2013, which is equivalent to the scale of the Japanese market for white goods, according to data announced by Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA).

The announcement was made at a meeting of the New and Renewable Energy Subcommittee, which Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) organized Aug 8, 2014.

According to JPEA, the Japanese market for solar power generation systems has rapidly grown from about ¥670 billion in fiscal 2011 to about ¥2.5 trillion in fiscal 2013 due to the implementation of the feed-in tariff (FIT) policy. The market consists not only of facilities such as solar panels, PV inverters, power receiving and transforming facilities, mounting systems and connecting boxes but also of businesses related to system installation (e.g. construction, design and management) such as land formation, foundation work and installation/wiring work.

The market scale of ¥2.5 trillion is as large as the Japanese market for white goods. With regard to the market, sales of solar panels is mainly flowing out to other countries with an outflow ratio of 9.3% in terms of sales/shipment value. In other words, more than 90% of the ¥2.5 trillion circulated in Japan.

Also, as the market grew, so did employment. The number of "direct employees," who engaged in production, sales and construction of solar power generation systems, increased to about 90,000. And the total number of related employees (direct employees + employees in peripheral industries) grew to about 210,000.

At the meeting, the results of a research on the European market were announced. The research was conducted by the subcommittee members in Denmark, Spain and Germany from July 20 to 27, 2014, in the aim of researching the latest situation of the introduction of renewable energies and using the results for the discussion on measures to promote renewable energies in Japan including the FIT policy.