Orix Corporation, a financial services company based in Tokyo, Japan, has entered into a strategic partnership with Kyudenko Corporation to jointly launch a “mega-solar” power generation business on the Japanese island of Kyushu.
Under this new business, the companies will develop an 8.5MW “mega-solar” plant on the former site of Makurazaki Airport in Makurazaki City in the Kagoshima Prefecture. The project represents the first time that a solar operation will be built on a former airport site in Japan.
Originally opened in January 1991, Makurazaki Airport was closed at the end of fiscal 2012 as a result of mounting annual budget deficits relating to the management and operation of the airport. Following the closure, the site was leased to a solar operator.
The 8.5MW project will cover a site area of 129,000 square metres and will be equipped with approximately 53,480 PV modules. These modules are expected to help to generate around 9.9 million kWh every year when it becomes operational in March 2014.
As part of the development plans, the companies will also consider developing facilities to benefit the local economy. Such developments may include using the former terminal building as an area to provide tours of the plant, and developing environmental education facilities to demonstrate how solar power works. Plans may also include building an astronomical observatory.
The project represents one of four proposed joint projects the companies plan to develop in Japan. Two of the other projects will also be developed in the Kagoshima Prefecture — a 7.6MW plant and a 2.3MW plant — whilst the other project will be a 12.1MW plant located in Fukuoka.
The projects also form part of a larger development plan for Orix which had earlier announced plans to develop 81.6MW worth of “mega-solar” PV plants at 17 sites across Japan, including the four listed above.
Orix and Kyudenko’s partnership dates back to November 2011 when the companies signed a cooperation agreement in order to help both companies expand operations in the Kyushu region. In January 2012 they launched joint business operations when Orix acquired 90% of the shares in Kyuko-Lease which was, at the time, a 100% owned subsidiary of Kyudenko.