Renewables company Infini last week marked the completion of a new solar panel manufacturing plant in Fukushima, whose capacity could rise to 300 MW and reportedly increasing clean energy investment in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017 in Japan to US $2.9 billion.
Infini will produce crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic panels for the domestic market at the new factory, which is located in Naraha Town, one of the municipalities most seriously affected by the March 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture. The facility will have an initial capacity of 100 MW though Infini plans to triple that capacity at a later stage and export the products to other markets.
Meanwhile Yamaka Electric Construction Co. has also announced the completion of three solar power plants, all of which are located in the Tohoku region that was devastated by the March 11 2011 megaquake and tsunami, which triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The plants, in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, have a combined capacity of 46 MW.
Additionally, NTT Facilities Inc. in conjunction with Kitashiba Electric Co. will build a 14 MW solar plant that will commence operations next fall in Minamisoma, a city also in Fukushima.
Japan plans to add 28 Gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020 — the year it hosts the Tokyo Olympic Games. This is a part of efforts to promote use of renewable energy sources, though the country has been sending out mixed signals regarding this intent in recent years. A notable change for the better is the increasing and significant presence of PV panels within the grounds of Japan’s regional airports and other public facilities with large areas of dead space.
Also making the news over the past couple of days is Japanese trading firm Marubeni Corp., which commenced commercial operations of a 37-MW biomass plant running on imported wood chips in Tsuruga City, western Japan.
The energy generated generate will be sufficient to power some 70,000 local homes and is one of Marubeni’s 18 renewable energy projects in Japan.
Global clean energy investment in Q2 of 2017 rose 21% over Q1 to USD 64.8 billion, down 12% over 2016 Q2. Japan’s 12% rise in the quarter was modest compared with Mexico (up 261% to $1.8 billion) and Sweden (213% to $887 million) though significantly better than others, including the UK (down 93% to $407 million), Germany ( down 34% to $3.2 billion) and China (-16% to $23.3 billion).
The Japanese government's aim is to have renewable energy account for 22-24% of Japan's total power mix by fiscal 2030. At present, that figure stands at roughly 7.5%, according to Japan for Sustainability data. The top renewable energy source in the country is solar power (with a 3.3% share of the total mix) and should the 2030 target be met, Japan’s installed PV capacity will hit 64 GW. .Japan's current solar power production is around 30 GW.