SKI Corp, Japanese a mobile phone sales agency, has signalled its intent to build a 24MW solar farm in the west of Japan and to borrow ¥8 billion (US$67 million), for the purposes of doing so.
Headquartered in the city of Nagoya, SKI Corp acts a third party between mobile phone providers and their customers. The company also develops solar power plants under the feed-in tariff (FiT). After a 16% drop planned this year, Japan's FiT will be at ¥27 per kWh from July. There has been evidence that projects approved for earlier, much higher FiT rates, are being traded, meaning that along with projects still in the original developers’ hands, there are still projects being executed to receive 2012, 2013 and 2014 FiTs once they are connected to the grid network.
SKI Corp’s move into the solar power generation business, selling to power companies under the FiT, is by no means an unusual one for Japanese companies looking to make relatively safe investments. One of the country’s biggest developers, SB Energy, is a subsidiary of mobile phone network provider Softbank. SKI Corp’s new 24MW site will be located in Wakayama, in the south west of Japan’s main island, Honshu.
SKI Corp announced that it had arranged to receive a long-term loan worth ¥8 billion to be signed off at the end of this month, co-arranged by Japanese ‘megabank’ Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The Wakayama solar project is expected by SKI Corp to cost the aforementioned ¥8 billion, plus around ¥500 million of its own funds, to be spent on procuring land.
Land and other details are still in the process of being selected and negotiated for. SKI Corp hopes to close the relevant transactions by July this year, with the project pencilled for completion in August 2016 and connection to the grid shortly afterward for the 10-hectare site.