Japan: 3.3 MW project grid connected

21. March 2013 | Applications & Installations, Investor news | By:  Jonathan Gifford

The first project stemming from Solar Frontier and Belectric’s collaboration in Japan has been connected to the grid today. The 3.3 MW photovoltaic power plant was completed by the companies, with Shoseki Engineering and Construction (SEC), in the town where Solar Frontier’s 900 MW fab is based.

The Solar Frontier fab in Miyazaki.

The Solar Frontier plant is supplying downstream projects in its local area.

As utility-scale solar power plants continue to be developed in Japan, the first project from the collaboration between Solar Frontier and Belectric in the country has been completed. Working in Solar Frontier’s "backyard," the 3.3 MW installation was carried out for local company Yano Industry.

The grid connection of the project is a significant milestone for the two companies as it demonstrates their successful entering of the downstream photovoltaic sector in Japan. They two plan to develop and operate utility-scale photovoltaic projects either for sale, for clients or to operate as an independent power producer (IPP).

In January, Solar Frontier announced that it is launching an investment company, with the Development Bank of Japan, to develop 100 MW of projects.

The 3.3 MW installation grid connected today was developed on Yano Industry land, and Solar Frontier indicated it will be used as a reference project for future collaborations. Yano is located in Kunitomi, where Solar Frontier’s three fabs are based, and the completed installation is a part of a municipal program to see half of the town’s electricity requirements supplied by solar. Both utility-scale and rooftop projects will be developed to this end.

Solar Frontier also indicated that 2013 is an important year for the company as it is 20 years since its parent company, Showa Shell Sekiyu, first began developing its CIS (CIGS) technology.

At last month’s PV Expo Tokyo, Solar Frontier’s Atsuhiko Hirano told pv magazine that its Kunitomi fab is currently running at between 600 and 700 MW. This represents a high utilization rate given the current oversupply in the global market.

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