Japan’s METI Proposes Feed-in Tariffs

By Paul Gipe


Recently, the International Renewable Energy Agency‘s Mika Ohbayashi summarized Japan’s proposal for a system of feed-in tariffs.

The proposal by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) covers most technologies including, solar photovoltaics (PV), large wind, small wind, hydro, conventional geothermal, binary cycle geothermal, and biomass.

METI’s proposal restricts residential solar PV to the current net feed-in tariff. The current program for solar PV in Japan is a variant on net-metering where only excess generation receives payment. In the Pacific Region this is known as a “net” feed-in tariff in contrast to true feed-in tariffs referred to as “gross” feed-in tariffs.

As late as mid-summer, METI was still considering a single tariff, one-size-fits-all approach with contracts between 15 and 20 years. Commercial solar PV will receive its own tariff.

The program will be reviewed every 3-5 years.

If implemented as proposed, Japan’s feed-in tariff policy will be among the weakest policies among major industrial countries in the world, and will be well short of those among its Asian peers, including China and Malaysia.

Japan currently has a weak Renewable Portfolio Standard of 1.6% by 2014.

In the past, incumbent electric utilities have dictated Japanese electricity policy.