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Japan Considering Applying Environmental Assessment to Mega Solar Plants

2018/07/06 18:06
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Trees surrounding a mega solar plant in Tochigi Prefecture. An ordinance-based assessment was conducted, and trees were left as they were. (source: Nikkei BP)

Japan's Ministry of the Environment announced July 3, 2018, that it will (1) introduce a system to smoothly promote the reuse, recycle and appropriate disposal of solar panels at an early date and (2) consider adding mega (large-scale) solar power plants to the objects of environmental impact assessment based on national laws.

The ministry established the "Working Group Concerning Recycling, Appropriate Disposal, Etc of PV Systems" in May 2018. And it has been discussing (1) measures for the disposal of solar power generation (PV) facilities and (2) environmental consideration for newly introducing a PV system. It announced the results of the discussion July 3, 2018.

In regard to the disposal of solar panels, the ministry concluded that "it is necessary to make an environment where solar panels are stably recycled regardless of recycling cost and final disposal cost and their fluctuations" and that "it should be in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's (METI) system to secure a disposal fee."

METI once said, "A system with which a third party externally saves up for a disposal fee should be considered." So, a system with which a disposal fee is collected from a power producer in advance and a third party manages it will probably be mainly discussed.