Etrion and Jinko turn their gaze on Japanese market

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Undeterred by the high cost of developing solar projects in Japan, the country was the focus of two big funding announcements today.

Miami-based developer Etrion announced it has secured a ¥16 billion ($148 million) green bond arranged by Goldman Sachs to provide most of the backing for a 45 MW site it started construction work on yesterday in northern Japan.

The Niigata project will almost double Etrion’s 57 MW Japanese portfolio, with the company today announcing it expects to generate revenue of around $15.5 million per year from the $154 million facility.

Etrion, which will supply $7.7 million of equity to meet the balance of the project cost, said today it has signed an 18-year power purchase agreement to sell power to utility Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc for a feed-in tariff of ¥36/kWh until 2040.

The developer said it is aiming for the project to be grid connected in the final quarter of 2021.

Jinko joins the party

And the U.S. independent power producer was not the only PV developer to land new financing for Japanese operations. Shanghai-based solar manufacturer JinkoSolar today revealed it had raised the amount of a two-year syndicated loan agreed with a consortium of lenders in Japan to expand operations in the country.

The amount of the loan, supplied by a group of lenders led by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, has risen from ¥5.3 billion to ¥6.7 billion, with the Chinese manufacturer stating the funds would be used “to expand Jinko’s Japanese business and for working capital”.

Sumitomo is clearly backing solar as the same lender in April extended the credit line of Canadian Solar’s Japanese unit. In that case too the bank headed a consortium of lenders that raised the Chinese-Canadian manufacturer’s borrowing facility from ¥4 billion to ¥5.35 billion.

The new appetite for solar lending – and project development – come despite sharply decelerating FITs and a scarcity of land for new solar capacity in a nation which once offered the world’s most attractive solar incentives.