By James Topham and Aaron Sheldrick
TOKYO (Reuters) – The failure of solar developers to deliver on planned projects in Japan will cost the country’s utilities close to $3.5 billion annually in additional coal and gas imports to generate power.
Japan’s government banked on solar power to help meet the shortfall in electricity supply after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 shattered public confidence in nuclear energy. The country’s reactors are shut while the government struggles to convince the population the plants are safe to restart.
To encourage solar investment Tokyo introduced generous subsidies more than a year ago, sparking a rush from developers who came forward with plans that would have supplied the equivalent to 21 nuclear reactors.
But in contrast to the experience in countries such as Spain and Britain, where subsidies sparked solar booms that strained government finances, in Japan developers are struggling to deliver. (more…)