Energy / Climate Change

May 19, 2013


Solar Cell Sales for Mega-Solar Power Surge, Surpassing Those for Residential Use

Keywords: Government Renewable Energy 

The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) announced on February 26, 2013, that domestic shipments of solar cells used for mega-solar and other industrial facilities, as well as for electric generation businesses, surpassed the shipments for households (on the basis of generation capacity) between October and December 2012, for the first time in Japan.

The total domestic shipments of solar cells during this period were 1,003,213 kilowatts (kW), a 2.5-fold increase as compared to the same period in 2011. Of the total, 476,322 kW were for residential use, overtaken by shipments of 526,089 kW for non-residential use (for industrial in-house power generation and electric generation businesses). The shipments for residential use increased by 44 percent, while those for non-residential use increased seven fold, as compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.

In Japan, the solar cell market used to focus mainly on residential use. In 2009, the Japanese government introduced the excess electricity purchasing scheme for residential photovoltaic systems. As a result, the installed solar power generation capacity doubled in three years, from 2.14 million kilowatts (about 500,000 households) before introduction of the scheme in 2008 to 4.91 million (more than 1 million households).

In July 2012, the Japanese government introduced a feed-in tariff (FIT) system, which applies to electricity generated not only by private homes but also by industrial in-house power generation and electric generation businesses. As a result, an increasing number of companies have entered into the mega-solar power market with the expectation of stable earnings. Thus, the rate of increase in domestic shipments of solar cells for mega-solar power generation surpassed the rate for residential use.