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Momentum for introduction due to soaring energy costs and moves toward decarbonization


Energy costs continue to rise due to the effects of the weaker yen and higher resource prices. The impact on households is also significant, especially after 2021, the price of electricity will rise significantly, and major electric power companies and new electric power companies will raise their electricity bills one after another.

Some electric power companies are considering raising prices for April 2024, and raising the regulated charges for metered lighting (charges that have upper limits on the content of charges and fuel cost adjustments from the perspective of consumer protection). The average spread is 32.94% for Tohoku Electric Power, 45.84% for Hokuriku Electric Power, and 39.3% for Okinawa Electric Power.

Against the background of such a steep rise in power rates, the introduction of renewable energy facilities such as solar power generation at home is attracting attention.

Some local governments, such as the Tokyo metropolitan government, are about to start obliging the installation of solar panels in newly built detached houses. It is said that it can be introduced at low cost by using PPA.

On the other hand, as the climate change crisis and decarbonization momentum grow around the world, the movement to make it mandatory to install solar power generation panels in newly built detached houses is accelerating.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced that it will aim to implement it in April 2025, and among new buildings, including detached houses, the total floor area of less than 2,000 m2 will be obliged to the manufacturer, and the building owners of 2,000 m2 or more will be required to install solar panels. policy to impose

In the case of private residences, manufacturers are responsible for installation, but the costs are likely to be passed on to consumers.

For individuals, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will promote the leasing and recycling of solar panels to reduce the initial installation and maintenance costs, and consider providing preferential support to manufacturers that are already actively using solar panels. but what actually happens? Further discussion may be required before the system is implemented.

This movement is not limited to Tokyo. A similar system is scheduled to go into effect in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture in April 2025. Kyoto Prefecture has already mandated the installation of renewable energy facilities such as solar power generation from April 2020, and Gunma Prefecture will implement it in April 2023. Buildings with a total floor area of 2,000 square meters or more will be required to install renewable energy facilities from March.

Although the movement at the local government level is conspicuous, the national government is also starting to take measures.

On August 23, 2021, a study group of experts from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of the Environment compiled a report titled, Energy-saving measures for housing and buildings toward a decarbonized society, and how to proceed.60% of newly built detached houses will have solar power generation facilities installed, and that by 2050, it will be common for houses and buildings where installation is reasonable to have solar power generation facilities installed. there is

On June 13, 2022, the Diet approved and enacted revisions to the Building Energy Conservation Law, making it mandatory to comply with energy conservation standards currently applied to non-residential buildings with a total floor area of 300m2 or more. However, from 2025 onwards, it will be expanded to all new buildings in principle. Decided to deregulate and so on.

Cost is an issue. Although installation costs have been declining over the years, they are still not cheap. A new detached house costs a lot of money even if it's just free, and the additional burden is a thought. If it is not compulsory, it is not strange to hesitate, but the "PPA model" is attracting attention as a solution to this current situation.

Install solar power generation equipment while keeping initial and maintenance costs down

What is PPA? A Power Purchase Agreement is a mechanism that allows individuals and businesses to introduce solar power generation equipment while keeping initial costs and maintenance costs down.

Specifically, it is a business in which a "PPA business operator" such as an electric power company that installs solar power generation equipment and a customer "consumer" who provides a roof or site and installs equipment in each household concludes a power sales contract. point to the model.

In many cases, PPA operators use their own funds to install solar power generation equipment on the roofs of customers. Consumers do not need to purchase photovoltaic power generation equipment, and can install it by paying part of the cost or by the business operator.

After a contract is signed between the business operator and the consumer, the generated power becomes the property of the PPA business operator, and the consumer purchases and uses the amount of electricity used at the rate determined by the PPA business operator. In many cases, electricity charges can be kept low compared to general contracts.

Various plans are available depending on the business operator, such as monthly electricity charges that are fixed, or free for a certain period of time and charged after the end of the period. In addition, in most cases, solar power generation equipment installed after the end of the contract period is transferred to the customer free of charge.

For example, in the case of "Enekari Plus" provided by TEPCO Energy Partner, a solar power generation system, storage battery, and Ohisama Eco Cute can be installed at an initial cost of 0 yen, and by paying a monthly fee, you can use the generated electricity and installed crises. A new installation of a photovoltaic power generation system is required, and the equipment will be transferred free of charge after the usage period expires.

The Zuttomo Solar (Flat Plan)provided by Tokyo Gas is a similar PPA service that allows you to install solar power with an initial cost of 0 yen (or only construction costs), and solar power at a reasonable monthly service fee. Electricity generated by power generation can be used. At the end of the contract period, the facility will be transferred free of charge, and the electricity generated by the solar power generation can be used for self-consumption free of charge, and surplus electricity can be sold.

The PPA model not only greatly reduces initial costs and management costs, but in some cases electricity costs are cheaper than usual during the contract period. If there is a power outage due to a disaster, there is a service that allows you to use electricity as a private power generator, so you can rest assured. It would also be attractive to get solar power generation equipment free of charge after the contract period ends.

On the other hand, the contract period for the PPA model is as long as 10 to 15 years, and the solar power generation equipment during the contract period belongs to the PPA operator. Consumers cannot replace or dispose of panels. It is also important to note that maintenance and repair costs for the transferred equipment will be borne by the customer.

Currently, the PPA model is provided for individuals and corporations, and cases of using the roofs of rental properties are beginning to appear. It eliminates the disadvantages of introducing solar power generation equipment, which requires initial costs, and can procure electricity at low cost, so its use may spread in the future.

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