Work begins on a 47 MW solar project in Central Japan

GSSG Solar reports that it has closed on financing and begun construction of a 47 MW solar PV project on an abandoned golf course in Central Japan. The Suwa project is located in Nagano Prefecture and holds a 20-year contract under the nation’s feed-in tariff to sell electricity to utility Chubu Electric Power.

47 MW is a big project for densely populated Japan, where large contiguous plots of land are limited.

The Suwa project has received both construction and term financing from Shinsei Bank, and GSSG Solar was the equity sponsor of the transaction. Sun Holdings served as the developer. The plant will comprise SunPower monocrystalline silicon solar PV modules, with local engineering, procurement and construction services from Japanese partners.

This is the first of a 170 MW portfolio of solar projects which GSSG Solar Partners is investing in, and the firm expects to complete all 170 MW by the end of 2017. GSSG Solar, which also provides advisory services, states that it has assessed over 2.5 GW of potential projects under Japan’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program.

"The (Suwa) project fundamentals, including high solar irradiance, minimally disturbed and contiguous land area, strong local support, and an experienced solar developer make this project an exemplar of the investments we are making here in Japan," stated GSSG Solar Director Charlie McDaniel.

In 2015 Japan was the world’s second largest solar market, however the latest monthly shipment statistics from Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association show that the nation’s solar market is slowing. Both Panasonic and Kyocera reported reduced PV sales due to weakness in the Japanese market in their results for fiscal year 2016, which ended on March 31.