Kyocera’s latest Japan JV makes work for ‘idle’ land

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Kyocera has launched another joint venture (JV) company to develop a number of PV projects in Japan, this time with Japanese lending institution, Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Finance and a construction firm, Takenaka.

The Japanese module manufacturer, which began in the ceramics industry before diversifying into other business segments including camera lenses, electronics and solar, formally established the new JV, KMT Solar, on 30 September.

For its side of the deal, Kyocera will supply solar panels and peripheral equipment, while Mitsubishi UFJ, one of Japan’s largest finance houses, will carry out project finance and corporate management duties, with Takenaka in charge of construction.

A Kyocera spokeswoman, Hina Morioka, talked up the value that the shared expertise of the three companies in their respective fields would bring to the partnership. Morioka told PV Tech that the JV wuold seek to utilise “idle” land for solar power projects. The JV, according to Morioka, will focus on projects “totaling several billion yen in investment”.

“Focusing on installations with an investment of ¥500 million (US$4.6 million) to ¥1 billion (US$9.1 million) per project, we will consider various types including ground-mount and roof top systems,” Morioka said.

Electricity generated to local utilities through the feed-in tariff (FiT) programme, with the JV concentrating only on projects in Japan.

Japan’s FiT programme, despite facing a number of recent high profile challenges including rumours – since refuted by official sources – that it would be stripped back before its planned expiration in 2020, is set at ¥32/kWh (US$0.32) for commercial customers and ¥37/kWh (US$0.36) for residential PV. Last week, an official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), confirmed to PV Tech that the FiT system will undergo a review at the end of the year, although no details regarding the scope of changes have been determined yet.

Morioka at Kyocera said the company’s latest JV had already “informally” planned a 3.7MW project in Wakayama Prefecture, although this was still at the very early stages, with no further details available at this time.

Kyocera recently announced its participation in another JV to build solar projects in Japan, a novel plan to develop 60MW of ‘floating’ PV plants by April 2015.

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