Certifications of Solar/Wind, Biomass Power Plants Reach 4-5GW, 8GW in FY 2016

Increasing number of 20MW-or-higher-output projects using imported biomass

2017/08/26 16:27
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced the total capacity of power plants certified under the feed-in tariff (FIT) policy (as of the end of fiscal 2016 ending on March 31, 2017) Aug 10, 2017.

Solar power plants
The total capacities of residential and non-residential solar power plants reached 5.49GW and 79.05GW, respectively, which are 0.85GW and 3.76GW larger than the certified capacities as of the end of fiscal 2015 (residential: 4.64GW, non-residential: 75.29GW), resulting in a total annual increase of 4.61GW.

The increases in capacity do not include canceled and declined solar projects and, therefore, do not indicate the exact total capacity of solar solar plants newly certified in fiscal 2016. In consideration of the canceled and declined solar projects, about 4GW of non-residential solar power plants have been certified, and about 5GW of solar power plants have been certified in total in fiscal 2016.

The total capacity of newly-certified non-residential solar power plants peaked at about 35GW in fiscal 2013 but dropped to about 17GW in fiscal 2014, about 5GW in fiscal 2015 and about 4GW in fiscal 2016, indicating that the rate of decrease is slowing.

The FIT tariff (FIT-based purchasing price) decreased by ¥3 from ¥24/kWh (excluding tax) in fiscal 2016 to ¥21/kWh in fiscal 2017. The total capacity of solar power plants certified in the two-month period from February to March 2017 reached about 2.9GW probably because certification applications were filed at the last moment to secure the price of ¥24/kWh.

Other kinds of power plants
On the other hand, other than solar power plants, the total capacities of certified wind and biomass power plants are rapidly increasing. The capacities of certified less-than-20kW and 20kW-or-higher-output wind power plants reached 120MW and 6.85GW, respectively, which are more than 100% higher than those at the end of fiscal 2015 (about 13.6MW and about 2.83GW).

The purchasing price for less-than-20kW wind power plants is as high as ¥55/kWh, showing signs of a boom. And an increasing number of 20kW-or-higher-output wind power plants have completed environmental assessment procedures.