Japan’s solar market to soar while US lags behind

Japan is tipped to become the largest solar market in the world after China, leaving the US trailing behind. The rise in Japanese photovoltaic (PV) installations could be down to […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Japan is tipped to become the largest solar market in the world after China, leaving the US trailing behind.

The rise in Japanese photovoltaic (PV) installations could be down to new generous incentives which offer “above-market rates” for energy from renewable sources, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Japan started offering incentives through its Feed-in Tariff scheme last July to encourage people to invest in renewable energy such as wind and solar.

According to figures from the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, the country’s domestic shipments of solar cells more than doubled to 1,003MW in the last three months in 2012 compared to the same quarter the previous year.

The news follows Japan’s push to find alternative sources of energy after the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The research predicts commercial and utility-scale projects will boost solar installations to a range between 6.1GW-9.4GW this year, exceeding its earlier prediction of 3.2GW-4GW.

The report states: “The upward revision was done because of the rapid increase in shipments seen last quarter as well as the fact that the pipeline of projects is even stronger than previously expected.”

Growth in the US solar market looks less optimistic however, with installations forecast to hit between 3.3GW-3.9GW this year. The prediction comes despite the US solar market almost doubling year on year in the past.