Japan: Plans for 480 MW PV project advance

SPCG Public Company Limited, Tokyo Century Corporation, Furukawa Electric Company Limited, Tsuboi Corporation, and The Eighteenth Bank Limited have joined Kyocera Corporation, Kyudenko Corporation, and Mizuho Bank Limited in their plans to install 480 MW of solar PV on Ukujima island in Nagasaki.

A new special purpose company, Ukujima Future Energy Holdings G.K., has been formed to undertake work on the mega solar project. An investment of roughly JPY 200 billion ($1.80 billion) has been planned, with construction work expected to begin in the fiscal year ending March 2019.

Around 1,650,000 of Kyocera’s high-output multicrystalline silicon solar modules will be installed in the project, which is expected to generate 515,000 MWh of solar electricity annually.

“Under the plan, a land management company would lease agricultural land or deserted arable land on the island from respective owners to then be subleased to a special purpose company named ‘Ukujima Future Energy G.K.’ — a subsidiary of the Ukujima Future Energy Holdings G.K., to construct and operate the solar power systems,” said Kyocera in a statement released.

It added, “In this project, some of the solar systems would be constructed on stilts, allowing the land to be concurrently utilized for both power generation and agriculture.”

The construction of a 64-kilometer undersea cable between Ukujima and the island of Kyushu, will allow the generated power to be sold to local utility company, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc., based on the national FIT program for renewable energy.

Photovolt Development Partners GmbH (PVDP) began initial work on the project back in 2013, with the aim of helping to contribute to environmental protection and economic revitalization on the island. It has been agreed that the FIT rights will be transferred from PVDP to Ukujima Future Energy, and that it will restart as a new project, continued Kyocera.

The New York Times reported in 2014 that the original plan suffered a setback that September, when Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it would not buy electricity generated from any new solar plants. PVDP then announced in November 2015, that it had finally obtained grid connection approval from Kyushu for a capacity of 400 MW.