Japan's solar installations in gigawatts surged by 270% in the first quarter of this year (Q1'13), positioning the country to surpass Germany to become the world's largest photovoltaics market in terms of revenue this year, according to a new report by IHS Inc.
Although Japan is forecast to install fewer gigawatts this year than China, which is forecast to install the most solar capacity this year, the high prices of PV systems in Japan will drive it to become the world's largest market in revenue terms. Japan is forecast to install $20 billion worth of PV systems this year, up 82% from $11 billion in 2012. In contrast, the global market is set for tepid 4% growth.
According to the report, a total of 1.5 GW worth of PV systems were installed in Japan in Q1'13, up from 0.4 GW during the same time last year. Japan's share of global PV system revenue is forecast to rise to 24% in this year, up from 14% in 2012 and just 9% in 2011.
‘Following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that led to the shutdown of nuclear facilities and a shortage of electricity, Japan has aggressively moved to promote solar energy,’ says Sam Wilkinson, solar research manager at IHS.
‘Japan's government has introduced a highly attractive feed-in tariff (FIT) to help stimulate solar growth,’ he continues. ‘In contrast, the European market that historically has led global solar demand is slowing as regional market conditions become less attractive. The deceleration in Europe and the implementation of the FIT in Japan are combining to propel the country to the top of the global solar market this year.’