The company began building the project in May in Inashiki, Ibaraki prefecture. Upon completion in December 2018, the array will annually generate enough electricity for roughly 4,435 homes. All electricity will be sold to regional utility Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) for a period of 20 years, according to an online statement.
The Tokyo-based developer — which was established by Goldman Sachs in 2012 to invest about ¥300 billion ($2.7 billion) in solar, biomass and wind power projects through the end of this year — did not reveal which company will provide the 54,300 solar panels that will be installed at the site.
The project will be the second PV array JRE has started building in Ibaraki prefecture this year. In late February, it broke ground on a 22.3 MW solar plant in the city of Tsuchiura, near the shores of Lake Kasumigaura. And in late 2015, it completed 6.4 MW of PV capacity across three sites near Inashiki. Once the Inashiki project is completed, it will own nearly 50 MW of operational solar capacity in Ibaraki, including a 39.2 MW installation near the city of Mito.
It currently operates about 132.5 MW of solar at 27 locations throughout Japan. Annual generation from these projects in the year to the end of May 2017 reached 208.4 GWh. Including 32 MW of wind power it owns on the islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu, its total operational renewables portfolio in Japan currently stands at 164.5 MW, according to its website.
JRE was a pioneer in securing non-recourse project financing in the early years of Japan’s solar development boom. In 2013, it obtained a ¥10 billion loan from Shinsei Bank to support the construction of its 39.2 MW solar project near Mito.
In September 2016, it announced plans to develop 100 MW of PV capacity in Fukushima prefecture. The plan, which is part of a joint development venture with regional power company Fuzan Fukushima Denryoku, included tentative plans to set up a 30MW wind project in the prefecture.