Special

Interview: JPEA Chair on 'Post-FIT' Residential Solar Power Generation (1)

2018/12/03 12:39
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Residential power generation facilities will end the 10-year purchase period under the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme in and after November 2019. The economic benefit of residential power generation facilities after the end of the FIT scheme cannot be foreseen, and the situation is sometimes called the "2019 Problem."

We interviewed Takeaki Masukawa, chairman of the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA), and asked about his thoughts on the problem as well as the "2030 100GW" vision set by JPEA, including the future of the sluggish residential power generation business.

Not a problem but a chance

Q: Only one year is left before November 2019, when residential solar power generation facilities begin to end the purchase period under the FIT scheme. What are your thoughts on the "2019 Problem"?

Takeaki Masukawa, chairman of the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) (picture: Meiki Shimizu)

Masukawa: The expression "2019 problem" may give a negative impression, but we think the end of the FIT scheme is a "chance," not a problem.

Solar power facilities after the end of FIT have the advantage of reducing CO2 emissions without a surcharge, from the viewpoint of the entire nation. If the economically independent and purely domestic renewable energy generation facilities are operated stably for a long period, it will be a great benefit for the energy policy.

Users of residential power generation facilities, however, need to consider and make decisions to maximize the value of the renewable energy generated by the facilities installed on their houses after the end of the FIT scheme, while they conventionally gained profits by selling the power for a fixed price without any consideration, because the number of power purchasers increased.

Meanwhile, the end of the FIT scheme offers potentially big business chances when seen from the viewpoint of the energy industry. Residential power generation facilities will be new suppliers of renewable energies with environmental value for PPS (Power Producer and Supplier) companies and aggregators. New business models using the energies in combination with storage batteries will be created.

Based on the above, we think the "2019 Problem" should be seen in a positive way as a whole.