FRIDAY 26 DECEMBER, 2008 |
Japan's Renewed Solar Power Push
The world's second largest economy and fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases
is making a renewed effort to spark uptake of solar power systems as it
scrambles to meet its Kyoto obligations.
Once the world's leader in solar
production and still making a quarter of the world’s solar cells,
the scrapping of Japan's solar subsidies in 2006 not only reduced solar uptake
locally, but contributed to local solar panel makers Sharp
being overtaken Gemany's Q-Cells and Kyocera
trumped by China's Suntech
in the global market.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced
9 billion yen (AUD$145 million) in the first quarter of
2009 to encourage home solar power; with further funding to come. Japan aims to
have solar power systems installed on over 70% of new houses.
In an action
tabled in November, Japan confirmed targets of increasing the number of installations of solar power generation systems tenfold by 2020 and 40-fold by
2030, while halving the current price of systems within three to five years. The
new program will have a substantial positive impact on Japan's solar industry
and generate thousands of new jobs.
As the country struggles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the action plan
outlines a wide range of programs to be implemented soon; from solar power
education in schools, to the development of refined deep
technologies, to the installation of grid
connect solar power
systems in elementary, junior high, high schools as well as universities and other schools,
plus public facilities.
Japan is heavily dependent on imports for its energy as the country has very
little in the way of coal, oil and natural gas reserves. Aside from the environmental
and economic benefits, an economy based on a larger portion of renewable
will also help Japan gain a greater degree of energy independence.
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