Japan’s Feed In Tariffs Could Accelerate Global Solar Grid Parity


New legislation in place in China and laws about to be enacted in Japan could be the global tipping point for renewables achieving grid parity with fossil fuel based power generation sooner than most expected.
A bill has passed Japan’s lower house of Parliament that proposes feed in tariffs to support growing the country’s renewable sector to 10 trillion yen (AUD$124 billion) by the end of this decade, supplying 20% of Japan’s electricity needs.
According to The Climate Group, while details of the feed in tariff are yet to be specified,  Trade Minister Banri Kaieda told parliament last month that rates for most forms of renewable energy will attract a payment of up to 20 yen per kilowatt hour for around 15 years, with the rate for electricity generated by solar power systems possibly double that.
Damian Ryan, Policy Manager of The Climate Group says: “The likelihood that Japan will follow China in rolling out major policy incentives to scale up renewable energy production is an exciting prospect. The demand created by these two Asian giants could well provide the global tipping point that accelerates the emergence of renewables as cost-competitive or indeed cost-beating alternatives to fossil fuel power generation.”
Once a stronghold and poster-child for the nuclear power industry, Japan is racing away from the power source. 
The country’s push for solar and other renewables is directly related to the earthquake and tsunami disaster earlier this year that damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima. It’s been reported recently that areas close to the facility are likely to remain off-limits for several decades due to persistent high levels of radioactive contamination. Currently, a 20-kilometer radius no-go zone remains in place. 
According to the Tohoku Geographical Association, more than 63,000 Fukushima people are still displaced as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster.