KYOTO, USA: Kyocera Corp., IHI Corp. and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd announced that the three companies have reached a basic agreement to construct a 70-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in southern Japan and to further explore a business model for utility-scale solar power generation.
The “mega-solar plant” is being built to help solve Japan’s power supply issues caused by the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to make a contribution to environmental protection, including the reduction of CO2 emissions.
To be built in Kagoshima City (Kagoshima Prefecture), the solar power project is being undertaken by combining the strengths of the three companies: Kyocera utilizing its more than 35 years of experience in the solar business; IHI implementing its proactive stance on promoting the increased use of renewable energy; and Mizuho CB applying its wide-ranging finance knowledge.
Within the agreement, the Kyocera Group will be responsible for the supply of 100% of the solar modules and part of the construction & maintenance of the system; IHI will lease the land and actively participate in the operation of the project; and Mizuho CB will devise a financing plan for the project. Furthermore, a special-purpose company will be established to undertake the business operation of the mega-solar plant, with Kyocera planning to become the largest shareholder.
In the process of exploring the feasibility of the new business, Kyocera and IHI have enlisted the support of and plan to get cooperation for investment in the special-purpose company from KDDI Corp., Kyudenko Corp., Kagoshima Bank Ltd; Takenaka Corp. and others.
With the cooperation of the Kagoshima prefectural and municipal governments and others in the local area, the companies seek to both revitalize the local area, and through the spread of renewable energy use, to contribute to the preservation of the environment and the advancement of society.
The planned site of the solar power plant is approximately 1,270,000m2 (approx. 314 acres) of land owned by IHI — roughly the same area as 27 baseball stadiums. The total project cost is estimated at approximately 25 billion yen (approx. $309 million) with construction to commence in July of this year.
Plans for the plant include exclusive use of approximately 290,000 Kyocera multicrystalline solar modules, with a total capacity of 70MW, becoming the largest officially announced solar power plant in Japan. The planned 70MW of solar power generation is equal to almost 40 percent of the total amount of public/industrial-use solar power equipment shipped domestically in CY2011. The approximately 79,000MWh of annual electricity generated will provide the equivalent power for roughly 22,000 average households, and will help to offset roughly 25,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Expectations and interest in solar energy have heightened to a new level in Japan with the planned July 1 start of a revamped feed-in tariff (FIT) program and the need to resolve power supply issues caused by the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Under these circumstances the three companies have reached this basic agreement as they believe that it is their corporate responsibility to proactively tackle environmental problems.