JRE finishes 22 MW in northern Japan

The installation — situated on a 38.5-hectare plot of land in Rokunohe, Aomori prefecture — was switched on earlier this week, according to schedule. It will annually generate enough electricity for about 6,500 homes, and is expected to displace roughly 14,900 tons of CO2 emissions. All electricity will be sold to regional utility Tohoku Electric Power at a feed-in tariff rate of JPY 36/kWh.

JRE began building the project in May 2016, in cooperation with Japanese PV solutions provider Vitec Solar Energy, according to an online statement. It did not disclose additional information about the installation, although The Nikkei newspaper reported last year that Hanwha Q Cells supplied the PV modules, without citing sources.

JRE currently operates 154.6 MW of solar capacity at 28 locations throughout Japan. The Tokyo-based developer has installed more than 30 MW of solar capacity in Japan this year, according to statistics on its website. Its solar projects in the country generated approximately 214.09 GWh of electricity in the 12 months to the end of June 2017.

The 22.09 MW Rokunohe project is the second PV array that JRE has developed in Aomori prefecture. Three years ago, it completed a 1 MW installation in the nearby city of Hachinohe. Although other companies have installed solar in the Rokunohe area — most recently, Canadian Solar completed a 10.2 MW array in the town — the region is best known for its numerous wind farms, many of which have been built in northern Aomori, on the Shimokita Peninsula.

In late June, JRE revealed that it had started building a 17.1 MW solar plant east of Tokyo. The project — situated in Inashiki, Ibaraki prefecture — is scheduled for completion in December 2018. And in February, it began construction on a 22.3 MW array in the nearby city of Tsuchiura, Ibaraki prefecture. All electricity generated by the two installations will be sold to regional utility Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco).

JRE was established by Goldman Sachs in 2012 to invest approximately JPY 300 billion ($2.7 billion) in solar and wind projects throughout Japan over a five-year period. Earlier this week, a unit of Goldman Sachs acquired German PV developer Conergy’s Asia business from Kawa Solar Holdings for an undisclosed sum, in cooperation with Tennenbaum Capital Partners. Singapore-based Conergy Asia & ME has worked on a number of solar plants in Japan in recent years, in addition to projects throughout Southeast Asia and Australia.