Japan May Cancel Solar Projects on Concern Delays Are Deliberate

Japan is considering canceling approvals for delayed solar-power projects following reports that some developers are putting off construction while they wait for equipment costs to come down.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans hearings as early as March with developers of 672 solar ventures approved in fiscal 2012, it said today. Permits for the plants, totaling about 3 gigawatts in capacity, will be revoked if developers haven’t secured sites and equipment by the time of the hearings.

Japan introduced a clean-power incentive program in July 2012 to diversify its energy mix following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since then, some solar developers have struggled to secure land or financing, while others may have deliberately delayed projects in the hope that construction costs will fall, the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies said last month.

The ministry has surveyed 4,699 projects, totaling about 13.3 gigawatts, it said in a statement. Of those, 1,049 projects have begun operations while 419 have been abandoned.

The ministry also plans to hold hearings this year for developers of 784 projects that have secured either the site or the equipment, not both, according to the statement.

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