“This renewable energy infrastructure investing platform marries the energy investing and market expertise of GE EFS with strong local partners,” said David Nason, president and chief executive of GE EFS. “It provides an important new source of capital to meet the energy needs of Japan with clean, renewable solar power.”
GE EFS may eventually expand the ¥75 billion ($669.6 million) to ¥90 billion, according to an online statement. A group of undisclosed Japanese institutional investors have also contributed to the initial investment of ¥46.3 billion. GE EFS aims to expand the fund to ¥75 billion in the third quarter of this year.
The DBJ — a financial institution under Japan’s Ministry of Finance — is acting as an anchor investor, providing one-third of the initial investment. GE EFS will hold general partner interests in the fund, via its local unit, GE EFS Energy Japan GK. It will also hold limited partner interests in the new investment vehicle, which it claims is the largest PV-focused fund in Japan.
A growing number of Japanese investors are seeking opportunities to invest in renewable-energy projects, GE EFS said. The new fund has already invested in projects such as Pacifico Energy’s 32 MW array in Kumenan, Okayama prefecture. GE EFS initially held a majority stake in that project, and the GE group’s inverter technologies have been deployed in many of the installations that have been targeted for investment under the new fund.
Beyond the Kumenan installation, the GE group has invested in a number of large-scale solar projects in Japan over the past several years. In early 2015 — in cooperation with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ — it provided financial backing for Green Power Investment’s 42 MW solar array in Futtsu, Chiba prefecture. It also invested in a 96.2 MW solar project that Pacifico Energy developed in Hosoe, Miyazaki prefecture, in addition to a massive 258 MW project that the Tokyo-based developer aims to complete in Mimasaka, Okayama prefecture, by September 2019.
Over the past several years, the DBJ has invested in a number of solar projects in Japan. In early 2013, it started a solar-focused investment firm in cooperation with Tokyo-based thin-film PV manufacturer Solar Frontier.