Japanese finance and leasing company Orix Corp. plans to make 54 billion yen ($680 million) of solar power investments over the next three years. Some 30 billion yen will be invested in solar power farms, while another 24 billion yen is to be invested in leasing rooftop space and installing solar panels on factories and warehouses, Bloomberg News reports.
The Japanese government last month launched a renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT) program that subsidizes solar, wind, and other renewable energy installations by paying above-market rates and paying for them via consumer surcharges. Japan’s solar FiT has been set at 42 yen-per-kilowatt-hour for 20 years, which is about three times the amount industrial consumers paid for electricity in the 12 months ending in March 2012, according to Bloomberg’s report.
Solar Feed-in Tariff Spurs Solar PV Investment
Introduction of the FiT is attracting a growing number of investors and renewable energy project developers to Japan’s solar energy market. In total, Orix management expects to bring some 200 MW of clean, renewable electrical power online. The finance and leasing company may increase its investments to as much as 100 billion yen in order to add some 400 MW of solar power capacity to Japan’s growing total, Orix spokeswoman Tamaki Shibata told Bloomberg.
Earlier this month, Orix announced it might allocate as much as 80 billion yen ($1 billion) to make private equity investments in China’s water, machinery, and renewable energy sectors over the next two years. Solar power and sewage treatment plants are prospects for Orix’s China investments, according to news reports. Three months ago, Orix announced it would purchase a 14.5% equity stake in Hong Kong-based China Water Affairs Group.
Last October, Orix subsidiary Orix Rentec Corp. announced it was launching testing services and performance evaluations for renewable energy equipment, including solar PV panels, at a newly established Kobe Testing Center. Along with testing renewable energy equipment, Orix Rentec intends to help customers enhance product performance and reduce installation costs. In addition to solar PV panels, Orix will test storage battery recharging and discharging and reliability.
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.