Japan is expected to announce plans to make it compulsory for all new buildings and homes to be fitted with solar panels by 2030.
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo 1:53PM BST 24 May 2011
Naoto Kan, the prime minister, is expected to confirm the “Sunrise Plan” initiative in a statement on the nation’s energy policy at the forthcoming Group of Eight Summit opening this week in France.
Mr Kan is expected to tell other leaders that Japan will continue to use nuclear energy following industry-wide improvements on safety standards, according to Japanese media reports.
However, he is also expected to highlight the nation’s future efforts to boost the use of renewable energy sources, in particular solar power for which the nation is already among the world’s top users.
The exploration of alternative energy sources is timely, following the recent closure of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant due to its sensitive position on a fault line and the ongoing repair work at the tsunami- hit Fukushima plant.
The crisis resulted in Mr Kan recently announcing plans to halt the nation’s plans for nuclear expansion and redshift policy focus towards renewable energy sources.
The Sunrise Plan builds on earlier solar plan initiatives, including a target of using solar power energy in 12,000 schools as part of its School New Deal, with the company Kyocera Corporation already installing panels in over 1,200 establishments.
Millions have also been spent encouraging home solar power use on a domestic level, with one initiative involving utilities having to purchase excess solar power from homes and businesses for higher amounts than standard electricity rates.
Other energy sources being investigated by the government include geothermal, wind, biomass and hydropower, as the nation explores ways to increase its energy independence.