Published on October 5th, 2014 | by James Ayre0
231 MW Setouchi City Solar Energy Project, Largest In Japan, Funded With Large Investments By GE, Toyo Engineering, & Kuni Umi Asset Management
October 5th, 2014 by James Ayre
The 231 MW solar energy project currently being developed in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan — the largest such project in Japan — is being funded via large investments by Toyo Engineering Corporation, GE unit GE Energy Financial Services, and Kuni Umi Asset Management, according to recent reports.
Made collectively through a special purpose company and representative member, Setouchi Future Creations, the investments represent significant support of the country’s solar energy development.
Reportedly, GE Energy Financial Services holds a 60% stake in the project — representing one of the single largest equity investments in renewable energy in Japan.
A recent press release provides more details:
To support the approximately $1.1 billion project, the three owners have raised more debt than any prior renewable energy project in the country. An $867 million loan — led by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation — was provided on a non-recourse project finance basis by a syndicate of Japanese banks, including local financial institutions.
Toyo Engineering and Shimizu Corporation will build the solar photovoltaic plant beginning in November on 260 hectares (1,210 acres) of city land on the former Kinkai salt field. The project is expected to reach commercial operations in the second quarter of 2019 and sell its power to Chugoku Electric Power Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement that uses Japan’s renewable energy feed-in-tariff regime. Chudenko Corporation will provide operations and maintenance services.
The president and chief executive officer of Kuni Umi Asset Management, Yasuyo Yamazaki, and a key player in the project, stated: “In addition to the Setouchi solar project, we developed a mega-solar power plant in Mito-city Ibaraki Prefecture and started the construction of a woodchip biomass fuel power plant in Kawaminami-cho, Miyazaki Prefecture. Now we are planning a wind farm in Nakadomari-cho, Aomori Prefecture. With these projects, we are contributing to the Ideal Region Development with renewable energy.”
Sushil Verma, a managing director and Japan business leader at GE Energy Financial Services, noted: “Japan’s favorable regulatory policies make solar power attractive and diversify the country’s power generation sources. For us, the Kuni Umi project expands our international and renewable energy footprints, which already include investment commitments of $1.8 billion in equity and debt in more than one gigawatt of solar power projects worldwide.”
As well as providing capital, GE will also supply some of the inverters used in the project.
Japan has installed over 11 GW of renewable energy in the past two years, almost all of that solar. While rooftop solar has dominated, there is currently a shift to large-scale solar projects underway.