Spurred on by last year’s Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, Japan is set to give the go-ahead to tens of thousands of new renewable and clean energy projects.

A new energy law that took effect July 1 aims to phase out nuclear reactors and clean energy projects are now eligible for government subsidies through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). According to data released by METI for the first month of the program, 81 commercial solar power projects with generation capacity of 1 megawatt or more, six wind projects totaling 122 megawatts, and a hydro power project totaling 0.2 megawatts were among those getting approval for government money.

Reuters is reporting that in total, Japan has approved more than 33,000 large and small-scale renewable energy projects for funding in the last 2 months, including the following:

  • Softbank Corp will build 10 solar farms and a 48 megawatt wind farm by March 2015
  • Toshiba will build solar plants with a capacity of 100 MW on the tsunami-hit coastline of Fukushima prefecture
  • Maeda Corp will install solar panels at 5,000 7-11 convenience stores
  • The city of Sapporo will install solar panels on the roofs of all 311 of its public schools
  • Marubeni Corp and Wind Power Energy will both build wind farms off the coast with a capacity of 250 megawatts
  • Orix Corp and West Holdings Corp will build and operate 250 solar farms capable of generating 500 megawatts of power

All projects approved for the government subsidies must sign contracts with utility companies by March 2013 to supply their power at set prices that will last until next March.

While a nuclear disaster on the scale of Fukushima is certainly enough to get an entire nation interested in pursuing renewable energy projects, let’s hope it doesn’t take the same in the U.S. to get our elected officials to jump on board with clean tech.

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