emailContact file_downloadDownloads

RTS Corporation

HOME > Monthly Perspective > PV business development must focus on independence

PV business development must focus on independence


The year 2024 has begun, as the year of starting the global initiative to triple the renewable energy generation capacity to 11 TW by 2030 based on the COP28 agreement.


In Japan, 2024 is the 50th anniversary of the Sunshine Project, a national project for the development of alternative energy sources to petroleum, which began in 1974 following the first oil shock. PV power generation, which directly converts sunshine into electricity, used to be considered an expensive special power source, but as it was taken up in the Sunshine Project as one of the alternative energy sources to petroleum, the development of PV power generation technology, which was said to be a dream, began for realizing domestic PV power supply.


Today, the dream has come true, and the genuine development of PV for the future is about to begin. Table 1 shows history and outlook of the PV development by decade: Goals were set and technological development started in the 1970s; devotion to technological development and demonstration in the 1980s; commitment to dissemination and launch of an initial market in the 1990s; Japan became No.1 in both PV production and installed capacity and moved toward establishing the systems for dissemination in full swing in the 2000s; expansion of PV installed capacity and commitment to make PV a main power source in the 2010s; and aiming for making PV power generation independent as a power source for self-consumption in the 2020s. As such, Japan has been consistently promoting PV power generation to make it a domestic energy source. The immediate goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and while continuing to overcome numerous issues, PV will continue to be responsible for ensuring stable power supply as a main power source in the 2030s, and will evolve from a main power source to a main energy source in the 2040s.


Table 1 Historical and prospective growth of PV power generation


Today’s large-scale national project, which is equivalent to the Sunshine Project in the past, has developed into the GX Promotion Strategy, in which all ministries and agencies will make a concerted effort toward carbon neutrality by 2050, and 2024 will be the year in which the GX Promotion Strategy, which aims to achieve both decarbonization and economic growth, will be put forward from the stage of planning to implementation. The government will utilize 20 trillion yen ($ 136 billion) of GX Economy Transition Bonds and will begin efforts to implement GX based on sector-specific investment strategies. The large-volume introduction of PV power generation is one of the pillars for the realization of GX, and PV has become a core power source that the government can take the lead in introduction. Based on the GX Decarbonized Power Supply Act, which will come into effect in April 2024, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is poised to promote the maximum introduction of renewable energy in harmony with the local communities, accelerate the introduction of next-generation renewable energy, secure decarbonized dispatching ability, take measures to reduce output curtailment of renewable energy, and build nextgeneration networks. In addition, the government will review the Sixth Strategic Energy Plan formulated in 2021 and begin creating a new plan for the formulation of the Seventh Strategic Energy Plan. In order to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, it is inevitable that the target for the introduction of renewable energy will be raised. Under these circumstances, if a steady progress is made in addressing the important issues of reducing the burden on the public and PV installations in harmony with local communities, and assuming that social acceptance of PV power generation increases, it will be possible to move toward further expansion of the introduction of PV power generation. There remain major issues that have existed in the past, such as economic efficiency, being a variable renewable energy (VRE) source, grid constraints, and location constraints, but these can be solved on the administrative and industrial sides through technological development, legislation, institutional design, regulatory reform, and business models. Since such measures are already underway, a sense of speed and spread will be required hereafter.


In Japan, the original Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program had supported the PV introduction up to FY 2022. In FY 2022, the scheme was shifted to the FIT/FIP program. The PV installed capacity supported by the current scheme is not large. However, in addition to the start of operation of the PV projects which had long been stalled under the former FIT program, PV installations are expanding in different ways, with the budgets for supporting PV dissemination by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) and other related ministries and agencies, as well as voluntary introduction via PPA that do not make use of the support programs or subsidies. In efforts to realize the GX Promotion Strategy, the budget for supporting the PV introduction by related ministries and agencies is on the rise, and the era of increasing voluntary introduction by a group of electricity consumers who are switching their power source to green power has come. While the government support continues, the PV industry must take this new dissemination environment as an opportunity for business development, and shift its focus to market-based independent business development where business continuity is expected.


As the next step, the time has come for the PV business to move forward in earnest with a group of electricity consumers to form a market based on voluntary introduction using such business models as PPA. Taking advantage of the year 2024, when the GX Promotion Strategy will be put into practice, the PV industry should focus on voluntary introduction for self-consumption that does not place a burden on consumers, while making use of subsidies and systems to support the introduction of PV power generation, and make full use of business models such as PPA, as a driving force for the expansion of PV introduction toward 2030. In preparation for the formulation of the Seventh Strategic Energy Plan, a vision of the development of the PV market after 2030 must be presented, and PV must play a leading role in the promotion of GX as a responsible and stable power source.


Please contact us


Please contact us from the inquiry form.