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Japan Announces PV System Costs, Utilization Rates

2016/11/04 15:24
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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A meeting of the Calculation Committee for Procurement Price, Etc took place Nov 1, 2016, for the third time in fiscal 2016.

In the meeting, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced its plans on (1) expected costs used to decide the purchasing price of solar electricity for fiscal 2017, (2) the penalties for missing the "deadline for the start of operation", etc. In regard to non-residential solar power plants, the improvement of facility utilization rate results in a lower purchasing price.

A "top runner element" has already been introduced to the system cost of non-residential solar power plants, and the "value of the top 25% of 1MW and higher-output solar power plants" has been used. According to the value, the system cost of non-residential solar power plants is ¥244,000 (approx US$2,367)/kW in 2016, which is ¥7,000 lower than the cost in 2015 (¥251,000).

The target cost of non-residential systems for 2020 is ¥200,000/kW, and the issue is whether the expected value for this fiscal year will be gradually further lowered to meet the target.

When the facility utilization rates for the period from July 2014 to June 2015 are compared with the utilization rates for the period from July 2015 to August 2016, the rates for (1) 10kW and higher-output plants, (2) 1MW and higher-output plants, (3) 1MW-2MW plants and (4) 2MW and higher-output plants increased from 13.5% to 13.8%, from 14.6% to 15.1%, from 14.6% to 15.0% and from 15.2% to 16.3%, respectively.