Renewable energy, as exemplified by photovoltaic (PV) energy, is an important domestically produced energy resource in terms of energy-related security, gaining a low-carbon society, creation of growth industries, and reinforcement of energy systems through the popularization of distributed energy resources. Japan’s “Strategic Energy Plan,” amended in 2014, states the aim to accomplish energy safety, stable supply, economic efficiency, and reduction of the load on the environment. According to the statement, from the perspective of the "energy mix,” the formulation of a long-term energy demand-supply forecast should be made by taking into consideration the need to maximize the usage of renewable energy.
PV generation has undergone rapid expansion at a pace beyond expectations, triggered by the introduction of the feed-in tariff (FIT) system in 2012. This shows further potential for a wider installation of PV systems in Japan. The annual PV market size has reached a scale of 7–9 GW, and the cumulative installation of PV systems had reached more than 20 GW by the end of FY2014. It is obvious that PV energy has contributed to a wider introduction of renewable energy in Japan.
JPEA, in representing the PV generation industry, is fully engaged in conveying useful information and making proposals such as the initiative for a smooth implementation of the FIT scheme. JPEA has also been engaged in many activities to establish a healthy PV market. Our efforts include the establishment of a certification system for the technicians who install PV systems, aiming to develop a cadre of technical experts in the market. We were also involved in the introduction of “Guidelines for the Maintenance of PV Systems,” with the goal of achieving stable operation of PV systems.
While the use of PV systems has been expanding rapidly, various concerns have become clear. Some examples include sustainable supply and power control under the restrictions of the power grid, a further cost burden for the consumers, disposal and recycling of PV products, and the impact on landscapes. In order to further leverage PV generation going forward amid such circumstances, we must move on to the next stage of connectivity to the Energy Management System (EMS) and optimization of energy supply and demand in smart communities. We also need to work on technological, operational and institutional initiatives aimed at lowering power generation costs.
All JPEA members are determined to contribute to the development of the PV industry and the improvement of people’s lives. We would like to sincerely ask for your continued support and cooperation.