Japan’s third-biggest mobile phone company, Softbank corporation, and Mitsui and Co. have joined hands to build and operate the nation’s largest solar power plant. With a planned capacity of 39.5 MW, the solar power plant demonstrates the increasing interest of companies in the renewable energy sector after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year.
The plant will be located in Tottori prefecture in the city of Yonago and is expected to be commissioned by July next year. Construction of the Tottori plant will start from next month. The project is to be financed partly by the equity from both the companies and partly from project finance schemes.
Earlier this year, Softbank also made announcement for its plan to build a 111-MW solar power plant in Hokkaido, with expected commissioning in 2014. According to the reports, Softbank plans to invest in about 230 MW in the renewable energy sector. This decision is believed to be a part of the country’s plan to reduce the dependence on nuclear energy by about 20-25% by 2030, something Softbank’s CEO is very supportive of.
“Mitsui, which gets about 90 percent of its profit from trading in metals, oil and gas, has helped to arrange for Chugoku Electric Power Co. to buy the electricity from the solar plant,” Softbank Chairman Masayoshi Son said.
The launch of the comprehensive feed-in-tariff scheme in July, wherein regional power utilities can buy power from renewable energy suppliers at a pre-determined price for up to 20 years, has attracted many companies to invest in Japan’s renewable energy sector.
According to a recent estimate by the government, Japan would require an investment of about $637.4 billion in renewable energy by 2030 to completely eliminate the country’s dependence on nuclear power.
It seems construction of mega-scale solar power plants is underway in the unused industrial complexes in Japan, amid expectations that renewable energy may rule the country’s total energy mix, especially after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Image Source: IntelFree Press
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views only.
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.