JRE starts first PV project on major Japanese island

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The Tokyo-based developer completed the installation in Kami, Kochi prefecture, in early October. In an online statement, it described the construction and grid connection process as challenging, partly because the project site is situated roughly six kilometres from regional utility Shikoku Electric Power’s nearest transmission line. In addition, the relatively high altitude of the location presented challenges. Road access was difficult, so helicopters were used to transport some equipment to the site.

As a result, JRE — which was set up by Goldman Sachs five years ago to invest in solar, biomass and wind power projects throughout Japan — reviewed proposals from several EPC contractors before ultimately deciding to work with Sanyo Engineering & Construction. The two companies started construction in September 2015.

In February, JRE broke ground on a 22.3 MW PV installation east of Tokyo in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki prefecture. In June, the company started working on a 17.1 MW solar array east of Tokyo in Inashiki, another city in Ibaraki. And in August, it finished building 22 MW of solar in Aomori prefecture, in northern Japan’s Tohoku region.

Several weeks ago, GS Renewable Holdings GK — JRE’s parent entity in Japan — announced an investment tie-up with GIC Private Ltd., one of Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds. They did not reveal the size of the investment.