Japan is set to overtake China and Germany with installations to reach between 6.9GW and 9.4GW this year.
The outlook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance revises the lower end of a forecast which earlier predicted Japan to install 6.1GW to 9.4GW of capacity in 2013 with China to lead the way.
BNEF’s revision comes after the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association announced that Japan’s domestic shipments of solar modules rose 73% in the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter. Solar PV is currently the most popular renewable energy in the country, having increased by 1,329MW betweem 1 April 2012 and 31 January 2013.
The rise in shipments is due to the “generous” rate solar power producers receive in an incentive programme that started in July, according to BNEF. Japan’s solar tariff is currently 37.8 yen (US$0.38) per kilowatt hour for 20 years, more than twice the tariffs on offer in China and Germany.
China will add 6.3GW to 9.3GW of solar this year, trailed by the US at 3.7GW to 4.3GW, according to BNEF’s estimates.
“Unless the Chinese government moves very quickly to clarify its solar premiums for roof-mounted projects, or Japanese project developers move more slowly than expected, Japan will be the world’s largest PV market in 2013,” BNEF said.
IHS recently forecast Japan to install US$20 billion worth of PV systems in 2013, up 82% from US$11 billion in 2012.