Solar cells are seen at the Ukishima Solar Power Plant in Kawasaki city, Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo. The new government initiative could lift the land of the rising sun to second place among the world's solar energy markets.
Solar cells are seen at the Ukishima Solar Power Plant in Kawasaki city, Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo. The new government initiative could lift the land of the rising sun to second place among the world's solar energy markets. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Jeff Horwich: Attention U.S. solar industry: Japan is now open for business. The government just launched billions in subsidies to promote solar energy.

From the Marketplace sustainability desk, here's Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: It’s like Walmart the day after Thanksgiving: The Japan solar rush is on. Tokyo’s new subsidy pays homeowners and companies a high price for generating and selling solar energy. The program lasts 20 years.

How high a price? Double what the Germans pay, triple the Chinese price. Nathanial Bullard is with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Nathaniel Bullard: With the Japanese market offering such generous terms right now, it’s the potential for a real boom.

He thinks Japan’s market could leapfrog Italy for second largest in the world behind China. For consumers, a big new market stirs innovation for the world. Bullard thinks in a decade, we’ll build entire electricity systems from renewable sources. No grid.

Bullard: The question will be, not where do I connect to a conventional grid of the sort that you find in the United States and Europe, but rather, do I connect at all?

For now, solar companies from Germany and China compete with domestic firms in Japan. But the Americans will follow into the booming market. Land of the rising ... you know.

I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a non-profit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions, or just encouraged you to think differently – we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today - in whatever amount is right for you - and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Scott Tong at @tongscott