Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm going to give them an unconditional endorsement.

Until I retired in 2008, I worked for a Japanese-corporation-controlled high-purity, silica glass crucible manufacturing company. Our 'division' championed the standard solar-cell market within our corporation, and the corporation profited from our leadership; because, as the ICs became more data-dense, the silicon wafer business volume declined. The increasing solar business made up the volume.

During the mid-oughts, the Japanese solar corporations (Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Kyocera, primarily) grew very quickly, until they temporarily made Japan the leading producer nation, passing German production (GE went from 1st to 10th in that time-frame). Then China passed everyone, due to their investments, as outlined in a 5-year plan that was published and implemented in 2007. And here we are.

Point is that Japan has the manufacturing expertise and infrastructure to ramp up quickly and substantially. All that they needed was the political will, which was suppressed by the nuclear-related industries.

Also, my reading of the new policy is that it decrements the FIT, as costs go down and deployment rises. So - they're making an investment. Considering the potential life of solar-power devices, it should pay off very well in the longer run. And it may well be that the powers-that-be - largely corporations and their semi-feudal leadership families - recognize that the avoided costs of nuclear power must be paid sooner or later.

As to paving the countryside, that's simply not going to happen. Roof-top may contribute a small amount, but it fits with distributed, small-scale generation that can decrease the power losses associated with long transmission lines. The countryside of Japan is largely forests on the hills and farm fields along the valleys, associated with villages. Rooftop, plus a 'fence' of solar modules bordering the north edge of the fields or the road - or the railroad tracks - could make these villages self-sufficient, as far as electrical power.

From what I've seen of Japanese technological capabilities, I expect that they will soon be in close competition with the Chinese for leadership in all phases of renewable-energy systems.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Fri Jun 22nd, 2012 at 11:28:39 AM EST

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