Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry announced that beginning April 1 the subsidy for solar power will be reduced from the current 42 yen (about 42 US cents) per kilowatt hour to 38. Those are for homeowners, who produce up to 10 kilowatts; for larger scale energy farms, etc., the rate is lower. (Those who have panels set up prior to that and complete the paperwork by March 31 will receive the current 42 yen per kilowatt hour.)
Because of the popularity of solar power in Japan, the government argues that it must rein in payments in the country's feed-in tariff program, which was created to promote clean energy. Also, the government argues that the the solar panels themselves have become less expensive, so the initial installation cost has come down.
Under this program, people who generate clean energy - solar, wind, geothermal, small-scale hydro, and biomass - sell their power to local utilities at rates guaranteed for a set period. In the case of solar, those producers will receive 38 yen.
Other types of clean energy, however, have not caught on as much, and their subsidies will remain unchanged.
Wind (up to 20 Kilowatts): 57.75 yen/1 kilowatt hour
Goethermal (up to 15,000 Kilowatts): 42 yen/1 kilowatt hour
Small-scale hydro: 25.2 - 35.7 yen/1 kilowatt hour
Biomass: 13.65 - 40.95 yen/1 kilowatt hour
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