02 July 2012 - Kyoto / Neuss − Kyocera Corporation announced that it has completed installation of its solar modules for the first phase of the SoftBank Kyoto Solar Park (Kyoto City, Japan), and that the approximately 2.1 megawatt (MW) installation began operation yesterday to coincide with the start of the new Japanese feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy. The SoftBank Group subsidiary in charge of renewable energy business, SB Energy Corp., will be the operator of the solar power plant. Starting with July 1 2012, solar installations which produce more than 10 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy are subsidized with a feed-in tariff of 42 yen (approx. 34 pence/ 42 Eurocent) per kilowatt hour. This makes the program in Japan one of the most attractive in the world.
At the inauguration ceremony of the first section of the SoftBank Kyoto Solar Park with approximately 2.1MWp, Kyocera founder and chairman emeritus, Kazuo Inamori stated: “It was only a few kilometers from this place here where Kyocera took the initiative to set up a research center for the development of photovoltaic cells more than thirty years ago. At that time there was little interest in solar energy, but Kyocera tirelessly continued on with our R&D, sacrificing while our solar business segment operated in the red year after year. That hard work eventually paid off as Kyocera was the first in the world to mass produce multicrystalline silicon solar cells. That is why it fills me with emotion to see this spectacular solar park […] and I believe that it is symbolic to have this mega-solar project here in the same area where Kyocera’s early R&D into solar power was first undertaken.”
The Renewable Energy Sources Act, enacted about one year after the disaster in Fukushima and based on its German counterpart, is to accelerate the move towards alternative energy sources and counteract electricity shortages in the future caused by the idling of nuclear power plants in Japan. Because of this, sustainable solutions are needed to ensure the energy supply, especially in the hot summer months when demand for air conditioning puts a strain on peak capacity. “The introduction of the feed-in tariff system for electricity from renewable energy sources is an important step for the expansion of the photovoltaic market in Japan,” asserted Tetsuo Kuba, president of Kyocera Corporation. Experts expect that by the year 2013, Japan will achieve a photovoltaic world market share of 10 to 15 per cent. The total output of the solar energy generated in Japan will amount to about 3.0 gigawatts.
Two categories for subsidies of solar power in Japan
Effective as of 1 July 2012, solar installations which produce more than 10 kW of solar energy are subsidised with a feed-in tariff of 42 Yen per kilowatt hour for a period of 20 years. The same rate is also applied to installations with an output of less than 10 kW — but for a period of only ten years. For determining the subsidy amount, all of the energy generated counts, not just the unused energy fed back into the grid. With the start of the new feed-in tariff, the subsidisation of small installations in Japan will be about twice as much as in Germany — for large plants even three times as much.
As of the effective date, other renewable energies in addition to solar energy will also be subsidised in Japan. This means that use of geothermal, wind, hydro and biomass energy sources are also expected to increase, helping to prevent climate change and stabilize Japan’s energy supply.
About Kyocera Solar in Japan
Kyocera holds the number one share in Japan for public- and industrial-use solar power installations — with a market share for industrial-use installations around 40 per cent. The Japanese technology group boasts 37 years of expertise in the field of solar energy, and is currently involved in the installation of several mega solar power plants. The Kyoto Solar Park is built in two phases. At the first facility in the southern part of Kyoto City, Japan, 8,680 Kyocera modules equaling approximately 2.1MW of solar power were installed. This will generate roughly 2.1GWh of electricity annually, which is enough to supply power for approximately 580 households¹. The second phase of the project has already begun construction in June of this year, with operation set to start on September 1, 2012.
Furthermore Kyocera Corporation announced a deal with another Japanese company to build and operate a 70 megawatt solar plant in southern Japan. Construction is planned to begin in July 2012; with around 290,000 Kyocera modules being used to generate roughly 79,000 MWh of solar energy annually. That corresponds to the energy requirements of approximately 22,000 average households. Kyocera sees the current project as an example of the success story of the company. The solar energy expert’s business in the mega solar installation segment is to be further expanded in future.
¹ Based on calculation of 3,600 kWh per household.
For more information about Kyocera: www.kyocera.eu