Marubeni wins EPC deal for Okinawa ‘mega-solar’ project

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Japanese trading company Marubeni is to build a 1.99MW utility-scale solar power station on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa for Orion Sun Sun, a subsidiary of Okinawan brewery Orion Beer.

Okinawa is an island several hundred miles south of the main Japanese archipelago, enjoying average temperatures above 20 centigrade most of the year. Acting as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner on the project, Marubeni has scheduled for the power plant to go online in March 2014.

The ‘mega-solar’ installation will generate around 2,300MWh annually, equivalent to the demand of around 400 average households, according to the company. The plant will lead to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of around 2,000 tonnes per year.

Orion Sun Sun, which is a subsidiary of Okinawa brewery Orion Beer, has plans to construct a total of 4.7MW of photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity across three plants. It was not clear if Marubeni will be involved in each of these projects.    

Marubeni has to date worked on various large scale solar projects, including 3MW capacity installed across four locations on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and has installed around 81MW in Oita, on the southern island of Kyushu. According to Japanese tech news outlets, the company is believed to be also planning to install around 10MW across four locations on Japan’s main island, Honshu.

Marubeni is among a handful of trading companies which effectively form the backbone of Japan’s industrial economy, with interests in a huge range of areas. These sogo sosha, (‘general trading companies’), the largest of which include Mitsui & Co, Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Marubeni, deal in sectors as diverse as energy, mineral resources, food, transportation logistics and consumer business.

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