Banks see $19 Billion opportunity for Japanese Solar Market

In the UK most business sectors have struggled to find lending options and specifically only a few specialist solar companies have been able to supply appropriate funding for renewable projects, yet on a global perspective things appear to be moving up a gear and there is more than a spark of interest in renewable electric - following a recent stream of big business investments particularly in the states, Japan now appears to have strong bank support emerging.

Financial Groups. expect the Japanese market to be worth as much as 1.8 trillion yen ($19 billion) over the next three years. That's more than eight times the roughly 223 billion yen of investment into Japanese solar installations in 2012.

The subsidy program Japan's government started in July is forecast to turn it into the world's third-largest market for solar power in 2013 behind China and either the U.S. or Italy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The incentive pays about triple the amounts Germany extends for its solar industries and already has lured solar backers from Goldman Sachs to International Business Machines Corp.

"A lending pipeline of this size is rare," said Koji Shiroishi, senior vice president at the structured finance division of the corporate lending unit at Mizuho, Japan's second-biggest lender by assets. It's evaluating solar projects worth 600 billion yen.

The pace of expansion forecast for the solar companies contrasts with declining support for other industries from the banks. Lending to manufacturers for plant investments has fallen 30 percent from the fiscal year ended in March 2009 to 1.98 trillion yen in the year through March 2012, the latest annual data available from the Bank of Japan show.  But in Solar the banks are competing for control of the market.

It does feel that the combination of global reports from investors in the US to banks in Japan coupled to increasing positive rhetoric from the leaders in our Government should now give confidence afresh to individuals and business to really get back on board and seize what is a great opportunity to control rising energy bills and take our individual pert in controlling the threat of run away climate change.