Japan six-month rule 'may slow PV'

Japan's introduction of a "six-month rule" designed to speed up deployment of PV projects could slow growth in the sector from 2016, said a Japanese consultancy.

The rule sets a six-month deadline for projects approved under the country's successful feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme to secure equipment and finance, or risk having it cancelled.

The move was designed to address a serious log-jam of FIT-approved projects standing idle while successful developers struggled to raise finance.

Consultancy RTS Corporation said the move, allied with an 11% cut in FIT support for large-sale solar, may begin to slow the market from 2016, when a lack of economically-viable sites could bite. The new measures came into effect in April this year.

However, RTS manager Izumi Kaizuka said 2015 is still ''looking promising'', thanks to the projects approved in 2013-2014, while the mid-scale rooftops and residential PV market remains ''steady''.

Kaizuka said: ''The government already decided that after three years of a promotional FIT, it will now be dramatically reduced.

"The Japanese government terminated national subsidies, so the residential market will be slowing down as well.

''But the future of Japanese PV market, considering there is no place to develop the land for large-scale PV, will be the residential and comercial rooftop market,'' Kaizuka added.