GE Energy Financial invests in 96.2 MW solar plant in Japan

GE Energy Financial Services – the energy and power financing arm of General Electric – has announced it is to partner on the development of a 96.2 MW solar PV plant in Japan with Pacifico Energy, the third such occasion the two firms have collaborated on solar development in the country.

Together with Virginia Solar Group, which will act as EPC for the plant, the two companies will jointly invest equity in the project, with GE Energy Financial Services pledging a total of ¥7.5 billion ($62.7 million) and a further ¥35 billion ($292 million) arriving in the form of a 22-year term loan facility provided by a syndicate of 12 Japanese financial institutions.

The project in Hosoe, Kyushi Island, Miyazaki prefecture, is expected to begin commercial operation in the spring of 2018, and construction has already begun on a 140 hectares site that was originally earmarked for a golf course.

Once complete, the Hosoe solar plant will be the largest single PV installation on Kyushu Island, and will use 300,000 solar modules supplied by Trina Solar.

GE will supply 50 of its own 1.26 MW Brilliant solar inverters to the project, eliminating the need for intermediate transformers and generation a higher conversion efficiency and superior grid performance.

Power generated by the plant is to be sold to local utility Kyushu Electric Power Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The project will deliver clean energy at a scale to power 30,000 local households, and will mitigate the effects of 68,200 tons of CO2 each year.

The project represents the third collaboration between GE Energy Financial Services and Pacifico Energy in Japan, as the country takes all necessary steps to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

"We aim to continue helping Japan achieve a diversified mix of power," said Sushil Verma, MD and head of Asia Pacific at GE Energy Financial Services. "Working with reliable and regional counterparties supports our international expansion and renewable energy investment commitments."

Globally, GE Energy Financial Services has invested close to $1.9 billion in 2 GW of solar PV projects, and has earmarked a further $1 billion for future renewable energy developments. In Japan alone, the Hosoe plant represents the company’s fourth project since May 2014, having participated last year in the Kumenan and Mimasaka Musashi solar plants, and also Setouchi City – at 230 MW the largest solar park in Japan.

"We are excited about partnering again with GE on Japan’s third-largest solar power plant, and the largest in the country that is invested 100% by foreign financial institutions," said Pacifico Energy president Kazuomi Kaneto. "This investment, leveraging the extensive development experience of our team, helps Japan achieve 20% of its power generated from renewable sources."