Toshiba bags contract for 147 MW project in Japan

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Japanese electronics giant Toshiba has bagged its largest engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) service order to date.

The global brand has won the contract for the 147 MW Okinoube Solar Power Plant owned by PurpleSol G.K., an affiliate of solar power provider Thai Solar Energy Public Company Limited.

Toshiba’s energy systems & solution (ESS) division will build the project on a former golf course in Japan’s northeast, near the city of Osaki in Miyagi prefecture. The EPC provider did not state when work was due to start but said the plant should be operating by December 2022.

The electronics conglomerate said it had tweaked the power density available from the 156ha site by taking measures such as reducing the gap between module frames and installing panels at a steeper angle than usual to squeeze more onto the site. Toshiba said it will install 362,960 modules.

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“We have rich experience of designing and construction of large scale power generation facilities,” said Koji Saito, senior VP of the grid aggregation division of Toshiba ESS. “Based on this track record, I am confident that our technological and workmanship capabilities will make a big contribution to the construction of this plant.”

Thai Solar Energy is a significant stakeholder in its domestic solar market and has operated in the Japanese utility scale market since 2014. The Bangkok-based solar company has invested ¥35.5 billion ($331 million) in the Okinoube project.

Japan’s utility scale market has slowed against a backdrop of pending regulatory changes and tighter procurement rules, including the introduction of tenders with undisclosed solar power ceiling prices for large projects. The last tender allocated only 39.8 MW of new solar of an intended 416 MW, with 27 project bids approved.

Payment terms are also due to switch from feed-in tariffs to premiums, which top up the wholesale electricity price. That change is yet to be fleshed out by the government ahead of a parliamentary vote although legislators hope to enact the new regime by April 22.