Japan’s biggest solar power plant set for July construction

A solar park.
A solar park. The use of solar energy can save money on household power bills. PHOTO/FILE
Construction of Japan’s biggest solar power plant is set to begin in July in Kagoshima city on the southern island of Kyushu.

Electronics company Kyocera Corp, heavy machinery manufacturer IHI Corp and Mizuho Corporate Bank said on Tuesday they have agreed to launch the 70-megawatt plant at a cost of US$307 million.

Under the agreement, Kyocera will supply the required 290,000 multicrystalline photovoltaic modules and be liable for part of the construction and maintenance, IHI will lease an estimated 314 acres of land for the project and Mizuho will provide the funding.

The three companies said the plant is being built to “help solve Japan’s power supply issues caused by the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to make a contribution to environmental protection”.

On completion the solar power plant is expected to generate about 79,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power about 22,000 average households.

Japan’s solar capacity has risen to over 3,500 megawatts, buoyed by government subsidies for solar panels on homes. However, this capacity meets less than 1 percent of the nation’s power demand and is less than a quarter that of Germany.

According to a spokeswoman at Kyocera, further elements of the project – including a start date for commercial operations – will be known after the government sets prices for a subsidy scheme for renewable energy sources that is planned for launch on July 1.