Japan’s Hydrogen Goals Need More Than Panasonic Fuel Cells

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • Japan’s residential fuel cell installed base: 220,000 units
  • Japan’s 2020 residential fuel cell target: 1.4 million units

Japan residential fuel cell cumulative installations

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Note: Years are Japanese fiscal year running from April through March. ‘Expected’ represents BNEF’s Expectations.

Japan is set to miss its residential fuel-cell target for 2020, as steps toward its so-called hydrogen society take longer than expected to achieve. The government aims to install 1.4 million so-called residential co-generation fuel-cell systems, or ene-farms, by 2020, and top 5.3 million by 2030. Government subsidies have been insufficient to offset high costs and competition from other technologies such as rooftop solar, so ene-farm sales remain far below rates required for the goals. Toshiba’s recent exit leaves just two ene-farm suppliers: Panasonic Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co. As a result, BNEF estimates that Japan will only achieve 28 percent of its 2020 fuel-cell system target.

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