Banks invest US$132 million in Fukushima’s biggest PV plant to date

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The largest solar plant to date in the tsunami-affected Tohoku region of Japan, a 52.5MW PV project, will be built with ¥15.8 billion (US$132 million) in loans from four banks, including the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Renatosu Soma Solar Park is being developed in Soma City by a joint venture (JV) led by Kyudenko Corporation, a Japanese company in which the principal shareholder is southern Japanese utility company Kyushu Electric Power. Module supplier to the project is expected to be Marubeni Corporation, one of the country’s biggest trading companies, as reported by PV Tech in July.

Regional lender 77 Bank, which is based in nearby Sendai Prefecture, announced this morning that it will be the main lender in the development of Renatosu Soma Solar Park, providing ¥6.8 billion from a total of ¥15.8 billion. It was not revealed how the remaining loans will be divided up by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitusbishi UFJ and the three other partner banks that are lending towards the project.

According to 77 Bank, the Soma power station in Fukushima Prefecture is the biggest PV project to date to be built on the area of the wider Tohoku plain hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 that caused damage to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear facility and took thousands of lives.  

The regional bank reaffirmed a commitment to promoting “reconstruction and development of the local economy” and said it would in future be able to “respond flexibly and quickly” to the financial considerations of investing in renewable energy. The 70 hectare plant is scheduled for completing and connection by June 2017.

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ also signed up earlier this month to invest in the Asia Climate Partners LP fund. The private equity fund will invest in green, renewable energy and energy efficiency in India, China and Southeast Asia. Other partners include Orix Corporation, a Japanese financial services corporation which is also among the investors in the Soma City project, Dutch asset management company Robecco Groep and the Asian Development Bank.

In other news from Japan’s utility-scale PV sector, regional news outlets reported over the weekend that a ceremony has been held to mark the completion of a 31MW project in Ibaraki Prefecture. The project is the first to be completed in the country by a subsidiary of Spain’s Gestamp Group.

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