Japan and South Korea set solar records

national electricity generation
The International Renewable Energy Agency has estimated how much grid-connected solar capacity Japan and South Korea had at the end of 2021.

Image: Ember

Japan and South Korea generated record amounts of solar electricity in May, according to clean energy thinktank Ember.

The London-based policy group in July published figures indicating Japan generated more than 10 TWh of solar power in May, up from the previous record of around 9.5 TWh in April 2021; and South Korea hit around 3.25 TWh of solar in May, up from the previous month’s 2.8 TWh.

Those output records amounted to 15% and “more than 7%” of national electricity generation, respectively, according to Ember, which was formerly known as Sandbag.

The figures illustrate how far each nation has to go in the energy transition, according to Ember, which lobbies for the switch from coal to clean power.

The not-for-profit said Japan generated 68% of its electricity from fossil fuels last year, with the same sources supplying 56.2% of South Korea’s electricity.

In Japan’s case, that compares with 9.8% of electricity from solar last year, Ember said, with the government working on a new coal power plant in Taketoyo, central Japan.

Japan has the world’s fourth largest solar fleet, according to Ember, and South Korea the ninth biggest but the latter nation still only generates around 4% of its electricity from solar, even if the volume of solar electricity has been rising steadily since November.

Aditya Lolla, Ember Asia’s senior electricity policy analyst, quoted on the thinktank’s website, said: “Solar’s continued growth in Japan and South Korea represents a positive sign in moving towards a more sustainable, affordable, and secure energy supply. The added capacity has been especially valuable recently but both countries have a lot more potential they need to tap into.”

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