JFE breaks ground on 26.2 MW solar plant in Fukushima

JFE Holdings Inc. has begun construction work on a 26.2 MW solar power station in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima – a name synonymous with 2011’s devastating tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor meltdown.

In a statement published by JFE Engineering today, the new plant is being built on behalf of health foods company Sunny Health, which already owns two solar PV stations in Kagoshima prefecture (of 2.4 MW and 1.5 MW respectively), and a 1.3 MW plant in Aomori prefecture.

This latest installation will be sited on a former, 76.5 hectare golf club and run directly by Sunny Health. Completion is scheduled for March 2015 and, once complete, the solar plant will boast a total of 105,000 Hanwha Q Cells solar panels generating an estimated 26,000 MWh of clean energy per year, which is enough to power 8,000 local households. Regional utility Tohoku Electric Power has agreed to purchase the solar energy generated under Japan’s FIT scheme.

In the past 12 months JFE Engineering – traditionally a steelmaker – has ramped up its involvement in Japan’s solar power industry, securing an additional order to build a 21.7 MW solar plant in Hokkaido that will add to the company’s 300 MW solar power pipeline for 2014.