Residential fuel cells in Japan

TOKYO 14 Dec (Nikkei)–JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. will create a new electricity supply system that does not rely on conventional electric utilities, aiming for commercialization by fiscal 2014, The Nikkei has reported.

Japan’s largest oil wholesaler plans to install rooftop solar panels and gas-powered fuel cells to supply electricity to condominium units. The system is estimated to provide 80-90% of the electricity the units need.

The rest will be supplied by JX Nippon Oil subsidiary Kawasaki Natural Gas Generation Co., which has a generating capacity of 847,000kw and produces high-voltage electricity for corporate users. Electricity generated by the subsidiary will be sold to households for 5-10% less than major power companies charge, with JX Nippon Oil acting as a seller or PPS (power producer and supplier).

JX Nippon Oil already offers high-efficiency fuel cells for home use but they are expensive, at over 2 million yen apiece, limiting the size of the market. The company is working to reduce the price to around 500,000 yen by 2015.

Government subsidies are expected to lower the cost of the initial investment and JX Nippon Oil hopes to offer the systems to property developers interested in selling condo units with advanced power systems to homeowners.

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