Japan’s Solar Projects Constrained by Land and Grid, BNEF Says

Land and grid constraints mean only 14% of the solar projects approved under an incentive program for clean energy by Japan, set to become the largest solar market this year, were generating power by May.

Of the 20.9 gigawatts of solar projects approved by that month since the introduction of an incentive program in July 2012, only 2.9 gigawatts were operating, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report yesterday based on data released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Utility-scale projects account for much of the delay, according to the report. Large-sized projects totaling 13 gigawatts have been approved, with only 0.44 gigawatts, or 3 percent of the approved capacity, commissioned.

The government is polling developers about the status of their approved projects and expected date of the start of operations, BNEF said.

Japan is set to become the largest solar market with 6.9 gigawatts to 9.4 gigawatts of capacity estimated to be added this year, according to BNEF.

The market is still dominated by Japanese manufacturers, BNEF said. About half of the modules imported from outside Japan in the three months ended June 30 came from Japanese manufacturers with plants overseas, according to the London-based research agency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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