GE and Virginia Solar Group have started commercial operations at a 32MW Kumenan solar farm in western Japan.
The Pacifico Energy Kumenan solar project in Okayama prefecture was switched on in March of this year and has since been generating power and selling it to local utility Chugoku Electric Co under a 20-year PPA. Okayama-based Asahi Dengyo Corporation will provide ongoing O&M services for the plant.
The farm was constructed by Tokyo-based EPC Toyo Engineering Corp, and completed a month ahead of schedule. According to the company, the project was specifically designed and constructed on mountainous terrain to leverage accessible slopes, which should aid in maximising power output and cost efficiencies.
It is currently one of the largest solar power plants in the prefecture and in Japan’s Chugoku region; offering enough electricity to power 11,000 households.
Financing for the project was achieved through a ¥11 billion (US$101 million) loan in non-recourse project financing from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Chugoku Bank.
“We are pleased to see our first ever investment in Japan come to life and start generating clean power that helps the country meet its renewables energy targets,” said Sushil Verma, managing director and head of Asia Pacific at GE Energy Financial Services, in a statement.
“This 32MW project has been a great first step for us. We challenged the design, procurement, construction, and finance to optimize the project and increase its viability as a sustainable energy source in the Japanese solar market,” added Kazuomi Kaneto, representative director of Pacifico Energy Kumenan.
The Kumenan solar farm stands as the first solar plant in Japan that GE and Virginia Solar Group have led to commercial operation. However, the pair have invested in two other projects in the country; a 42MW project that is expected to be complete in the second half of this year and a 96MW plant that will be done in 2018, according to the statement.