Mitsubishi Research Institute to launch solar fund

The Mitsubishi Research Institute is partnering with corporate affiliate Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities on a JPY 50 million ($426 million) fund to acquire and improve megasolar power plants in Japan, according to a report by the Nikkei newspaper.

Mitsubishi Research will oversee asset management for the fund and help select solar power projects, creating special-purpose companies for each of the projects. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley will solicit investors, including pension funds and other domestic institutional investors.

The companies plan to take over more than 10 solar plants over three years with a combined generating capacity of at least 100 MW.

Mitsubishi Research will partner with PV plant operators and contractors in different regions, including Kyuden Mirai Energy, with the aim of optimizing the amount of power generated by the plants.

Mitsubishi Research is currently involved in two megasolar projects in Kumamoto and Hyogo prefectures.

According to the report, large-scale solar plants with a combined output capacity of some 20 GW have come online under the government’s feed-in tariff system but many of them have fallen short of their expected capacity due to poor-quality solar cells or inadequate maintenance and are on the market even before the 20-year program has expired.