Japan: Thai utility eyes 100 MW plant, Mitsubishi UFJ to invest in Fukushima project

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Two large-scale solar PV projects have entered the planning phase in Japan this week following investment announcements from Thai, Taiwanese and Japanese backers.

Ratchaburi Electricity, which is the largest power producer in Thailand, is to invest in a 100 MW solar PV project in Japan via a joint venture (JV) with Taiwan’s Huang Ming, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, four leading lending institutions are partnering to back a 15.8 billion yen ($132 million), 53 MW solar PV project in the country’s Fukushima prefecture in what will become the largest single solar installation in region to date.

Ratchaburi chief executive Pongdith Potchana confirmed that the JV with Haung Ming is the first step in moves to augment further collaboration with Thailand’s PTT Pcl and Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Group to boost investment in overseas power projects.

The utility first announced its intention to enter the Japanese solar market in 2014, but this is the first concrete detail to emerge regarding its construction and development plans.

In Fukushima, the proposed 53 MW solar farm will be backed by four banks, including Mitsubishi UFJ, Sendai-based 77 Bank – which will provide the most funding for the project, at $57 million – and two other lenders.

The Renatosu Soma Solar Park will become the largest of its kind in Fukushima Prefecture, which has turned its attentions to solar power following the devastating aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan NTT Facilities, which is a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, also announced this week that it is to create a 32.6 MW solar PV plant in Kunitomi city, Miyazaki prefecture.

The project will be constructed on a former golf course using solar panels supplied by Suntech Power Japan corp. Commercial operation is scheduled for January, 2017.