FY 2015 Budget: More Money For Solar, Renewable Energy

More money to efforts to get Japan more firmly on the track towards renewable energy? Green Gift is a project I really like. It encourages grandparents to give money to their children/grandchildren for use of renewable energy-based power.

Specifically, when grandparents give money to their children/grandchildren for the installation of solar power generation facilities or fuel cell-based co-generation systems, such money is exempted from gift tax.

I believe this is the first such project in the world.

Green Gift means grandparents can make a gift that contributes to the global environment while their children/grandchildren can reduce utility costs and gain an income from selling solar electricity.

Also, the installation of low-carbon-emission facilities and renovations for adding energy-saving facilities are expected to create business opportunities for local device/parts makers and contractors, energize local economies and revitalize local communities.

This system was proposed by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Based on its own research, IGES concluded that 20% of the households headed by those who are in their 60s or older (about 4 million households) may give about ¥3 million (approx US$25,512) using the system.

The Green Gift tax system was included in the Outline of the Tax Revision for Fiscal 2015, which the ruling party decided on Dec 30, 2014, according to Nikkeibp.com.

While that makes a lot of sense, Japan needs a government policy that strongly supports renewable energy.

The FY 2015 Budget is some good news for a change, although as usual, too little too late. This should be a long-term strategy for Japan, in fact, for everyone.

Kyodo/Mainichi has more:

The government is expected to spend 4.4 billion yen for measures to lower the costs of solar power generation. It also plans to earmark 8 billion yen for further promoting geothermal power and 7.9 billion yen for developing technologies related to offshore wind power.

METI wants to set aside 93 billion yen ($779 million) to help factories and small-sized businesses install devices to improve energy efficiency such as light-emitting diode lamps and boilers with better efficiency. METI wants to spend about 81 billion yen in response to grid issues the country is facing in order to accommodate more renewable energy. This is necessary as more power companies try to provide solar power, in particular, to the power grid that was designed for large producers, such as nuclear plants. Also, the ministry wants to help set up energy storage systems at solar power stations or substations, which could also help people who just want to add some panels to their roofs. 

Renewable Energy World.com had an interesting analysis of Japan's situation last year, with data analysis by Junko Movellan:

According to the latest figures released by the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA), Japan installed 2.4 GW of on-grid PV capacity in the third quarter of this year (or second quarter fiscal year in Japan). This represents the second largest quarterly PV installation since the nation’s generous feed-in tariff (FIT) program launched in July 2012.

With the strong third quarter result, for the first nine months of this year, Japan installed about 7 GW of on-grid PV capacity. If Japan adds 3 GW more during this quarter, or an average 1 GW each month, Japan will no doubt hit the 10-GW mark. Data provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) shows a similar picture. 

Still, even if this trend continues, solar will only supply 2-3% of Japan's total electricity. It means Japan is way ahead of most other countries, and the race is on!


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