Solar power rises in Japan with plans for 636 MW by 2015


Two newly announced photovoltaic projects in Japan backed by Toyota and Mitsubishi promise to generate 136 MW by 2015.

Tokyo-based Eurus Energy Holdings, a joint venture between Toyota Tsusho Corporation and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, is planning to build the 115 MW plant in the Aomori prefecture, located in the northern Tohoku region.

The company aims to begin construction in July and start running the station in November 2015, according to a Bloomberg report.

The project is expected to cost some 49 billion yen ($480 million, €372 million).

In the southern Shikoku region, Nippon Paper Industries Company is partnering with Mitsubishi Corporation on a 21 MW solar project.

The Shikoku Electric Power Company will purchase the electricity generated by the plant beginning in the latter half of 2014 under Japan’s feed-in tariff system, currently 37.8 yen/kWh (U.S.$0.37/kWh, €0.29/kWh).

The facility is set to begin construction in autumn on land owned by Nippon Paper located in the city of Komatsushima in Shikoku’s Tokushima prefecture, which enjoys some of the highest number of annual hours of sunshine in Japan.

Nippon Paper and Mitsubishi have established Nippon Paper Mega Solar Komatsushima, a special-purpose company, to oversee the project.

Nippon Paper said the Shikoku plant would employ Nippon Paper Industries’ assets and technology as well as the expertise that Mitsubishi has accumulated through its overseas independent power producer (IPP) business.

Japan Asia Group, meanwhile, has said it plans to develop 500 MW of solar projects in the country by 2015 while cutting back its operations in Europe.

The Tokyo-based renewable energy group is currently planning 110 MW for the fiscal year ending March 31, with an additional 190 MW proposed for 2014 and some 200 MW the following year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing comments by Japan Asia Chairman Tetsuo Yamashita at a meeting with analysts.

Yamashita said the company may cut back its photovoltaic business in Europe, where the group has already developed 24 solar plants with a combined power volume of 59 MW.

A government incentive program to promote clean energy introduced last year in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has resulted in a booming solar market in Japan.