GE Energy Financial Services, Toyo Engineering Corporation and Kuni Umi Asset Management have invested in Japan’s largest solar power project, a 231-MW facility to be built in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, via special purpose company and representative member Setouchi Future Creations.
To support the approximately $1.1 billion project, the three owners have raised more debt than any prior renewable energy project in the country. An $867 million loan — led by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation — was provided on a non-recourse project finance basis by a syndicate of Japanese banks, including local financial institutions.
GE Energy Financial Services holds a 60% stake in the project, one of the largest single equity investments in renewable energy in Japan. In addition to capital, GE will supply some of the inverters — marking the debut in Japan of the GE 1 MW Brilliance Solar Inverter, which eliminates the need for an intermediate transformer, resulting in higher conversion efficiency and superior grid performance.
“Japan’s favorable regulatory policies make solar power attractive and diversify the country’s power generation sources,” says Sushil Verma, a managing director and Japan business leader at GE Energy Financial Services. “For us, the Kuni Umi project expands our international and renewable energy footprints, which already include investment commitments of $1.8 billion in equity and debt in more than one gigawatt of solar power projects worldwide.”
Toyo Engineering and Shimizu Corporation will build the solar PV plant beginning in November on 1,210 acres of city land on the former Kinkai salt field. The project is expected to reach commercial operations in the second quarter of 2019 and sell its power to Chugoku Electric Power Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement that uses Japan’s renewable energy feed-in-tariff regime. Chudenko Corporation will provide operations and maintenance services.
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