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Seminar on the Economics of Solar Power (Tokyo, 6 March 2013)

EU News 163/2013

3 April, 2013

On 6 of March 2013, the EU Delegation in Japan, in cooperation with the European Business Council in Japan and the CNRS Institute PV Next at University of Tokyo, organized a seminar on "'The Economics of Solar Power - How can PV contribute best to Business, Energy Production and Growth?'" to explore the role solar energy could play in Japan's future energy mix.

Arnulf Jaeger Waldau, author of the annual "PV status report" of the JRC indicated that the recent massive increase in PV in Europe had contributed significantly to generally lower the overall electricity prices in the EU. EU is on track to reach 40% renewable electricity by 2020, but there are number of challenges of regulatory and technical nature (e.g. the adaptation of current grid structures to larger share of decentralised renewables).

The technological component to bring PV prices down and efficiency up, was illustrated by Prof. Masafumi Yamaguchi, JP coordinators of a 11,5m€ co-funded project of NEDO and DG RTD. He also presented the project 'High Performance PV Generation System for the Future' which aims at development of new solar cells.

Frenk Withoos chair of the EBC Energy Committee and the vice president of ABB presented ways to optimize production at PV power plants and pointed to the legal and administrative bottlenecks that still need to be addressed. Prof. Hisashi Hoshi from the Institute of Energy Economics explained the principle of 'Judo strategy for renewables' – to collaborate and invest by wisely using the existing structures and market trends.

Sean Miwa Shigeki of the JP mobile phone provider Softbank explained how his company will use their customer relations to rent roofs in JP and install PV capacities widely and in short time, providing rent income and a back-up power source. Current Feed-in-Tariff System in place for the next 20 years obliges electric utilities to purchase electricity from renewables at price 42 yen per 1kW. Softbank presented also some projects abroad, emphasizing the potential for renewable energy in Mongolia (equivalent of Asia's total electricity consumption in 2030).

Izumi Kaizuka presented trends of PV in Japan and the complexity of PV industrial structure. Presenting the domestic PV projects in operation and in the pipeline, Kaizuka informed that at the end of 2012 there were almost 190 thousand projects approved by the local authorities with the total capacity of 3,262 MW.

The half day seminar was one of a series of events of a broader EU-Japan Science Policy Dialogue to support and the decision making regarding the critical energy situation in Japan.


For reference, please see: 'Status of Photovoltaics' Arnulf Jager-Waldau, (Renewable Energy Unit, Joint Research Center, EC). PV DOCS