Japan is a densely packed country with challenges supplying all its own electricity. So it certainly could benefit from being able to save more renewable energy that is generated during off hours. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) agrees, as it is planning to install the world’s largest battery in the prefecture of Hokkaido, where a lot of solar power is already installed.

The battery park is supposed to have a storage capacity of about 60MWh. It’s supposed to be in place (at an electrical substation) no later than March 2015.

Of course, Japan is stimulating considerable solar power growth across the country through its generous feed-in tariff scheme. As its solar capacity grows, it could use some energy storage to make sure the electricity generated is used to the fullest degree possible. Studies have found that with renewables installed across a large region should be balanced enough to require little backup even at relatively high grid penetration. However, Japan isn’t such a large country….

Back to this world record storage project. “The project is expected to use up a large proportion of a ¥29.6 billion (US$299.5 million) fund allocated to battery projects by the Japanese government in its 2012 budget,” PV Tech writes.

“METI also envisages its storage battery market to account for about half of the global market share of which one third will be made up of large-scale storage batteries by 2020.”

We’ll see what happens, but Japan has certainly done well at capturing significant market share in other technology arenas. We’ll see how METI’s aims match up with reality, and how quickly Japan is able to get off fossil fuels and leap into a clean energy future.