* Recommendation seen in line with solar power industry
* Could encourage solar investments; burden to consumers
TOKYO, April 23 A Japanese government panel is
likely to recommend utilities pay 42 yen (51 cents) per
kilowatt-hour (kwh) for solar power supplies in a feed-in tariff
scheme, in line with requests by the solar power industry, the
Nikkei business daily said.
Japan is overhauling its energy policy after the Fukushima
nuclear crisis shattered public confidence in the safety of
atomic power, and is set to introduce a new subsidy scheme from
July which covers all kinds of renewable energy to support the
budding market for domestically produced power.
The recommended rate for solar power includes tax and is to
be paid for about 20 years, the report said on Monday. That is
roughly double the rate that households pay for electricity
usage and almost meets the solar power industry's request for 42
yen without tax, it added.
The rates could encourage potential business investors to
enter the market, but the higher rate would come at a greater
cost to consumers, to whom the utilities pass on the burden.
Solar power in Japan accounts for less than 1 percent of
total power due to lack of sufficient subsidies in the past.
A group of experts appointed upon approval by parliament
will recommend a price and a period for each type of renewable
energy, including wind, biomass and geothermal, as early as this
month. Japan's Trade Minister Yukio Edano will decide the final
price taking into account the panel's recommendation.
($1 = 81.6050 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Himani Sarkar)