Japan’s Renewables Rocket Growth Is Overwhelming Government and Industry

Since Japan began its renewable energy feed-in tariff system so many people and companies have decided to install systems, it’s apparently overwhelming the nation’s ability to report on progress. The boom is also causing up to half year wait times for simple rooftop solar panel installations.

As of November last year, the monthly reports from the government indicated a rapidly accelerating growth in the amount of renewable energy power generation in the nuclear radiation catastrophe torn nation.

Japan’s Ministry of Economics Trade & Industry (METI) is running weeks late with its next critical monthly report. METI normally issues the report mid-month following the close of the prior month. The current report for December of 2012 was to be issued around January 15th, but is now not expected till mid February at the earliest. The monthly report includes the amount of new renewable energy plants applied for, and that have begun power generation.

A ministry employee said, “it’s taking time to confirm all the power plants which have started generating power” regarding the delay.

Japan adopted a feed-in tariff system (FIT), similar to Germany’s extremely successful program. Anyone who builds a renewable energy power generation system is guaranteed to have their electricity purchased by the regional electric monopolies.

As of the last report on progress for the month of November, 2012 Japan was already far ahead of its plan to add 2.5GW of new renewable energy by the end of the fiscal year in March this year. As of November, nearly 4GW of new capacity had been applied for and approved. The rate of increase since the program began in July is also increasing. If the current rate continues, Japan could have over 9GW of new power plants applied for by end of June, marking the first year of the new FIT system.

Japan’s ministry employees are not the only ones being overrun with the terrific growth of renewables. A solar distributor for a major Japanese panel manufacturer told this blogger that a rooftop system currently takes up to six months to install due to the massive backlog.