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Japan launches battery storage subsidy for homes, business

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Japan has followed in the footsteps of Germany and the US and launched a new subsidy program designed to support the installation of lithium-ion battery-based stationary storage systems.

According to a report in PV-Tech, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will offer to pay individuals and entities up to two-thirds of their purchase price of the battery storage system. A total budget of ¥10 billion ($A110 million) has been allocated to the program.

The report says that individual payments will be capped at just over $10,000 for individuals and just over $1 million for businesses. The battery systems must have capacity of 1kWh capacity or more.

Japan has previously expressed its interest in storage technologies, and MWTI recently selected a 10MW solar farm  in south western Japan as a ‘model project’ to test the use of battery storage – featuring recycled electric vehicle batteries. Numerous other projects have also been announced, attracting interest from Japan’s leading industrial giants.

METI cited Japan’s acute energy problems since the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident, as justifcation for the new program. The program will look at how storage will help integrate variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, managing peak supply and demand, and act as a stabilising force to grid supply.

According to PV-Tech, The Japanese government is also keen to measure what effect mass production will have on battery prices and to what extent battery storage could aid energy self-sufficiency.

Germany offers subsidies for residential PV-plus-storage systems through the its massive development bank KfW. California has also created what it describes as a “game changing” mandate of 1.3GW of storage by 2020 – although this will come as a combination of battery storage, molten salt storage from large scale solar thermal projects, and other storage options. Peurto Rico also has a storage mandate.

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