Solar Frontier, a Japanese thin-film PV manufacturer, has teamed up with Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) in order to jointly establish an investment company which will provide funding for PV plants in Japan.
The companies have signed a “basic” agreement which will see the joint investment company become an independent power producer (IPP). Solar Frontier will contribute 60% of the capital while DBJ will contribute the remaining 40%.
The investment firm is scheduled to begin operating in February. Initially, it will seek to provide financing for a total of 100MW worth of solar projects a year. It will invest in large-scale as well as small-scale projects including those less than 2MW which generally find it difficult to obtain project finance. It will also invest in projects which have a suitable land plot to develop but not progressed in terms of finding power producers.
By providing integrated processes along the value chain from financing to construction and IPP operations, the joint firm will be able to respond quickly to Japanese demand for utility-scale projects.
Solar Frontier also believes that the joint firm will be more competitive in the downstream business by using a new business model to sell already up-and-running projects to IPPs and investors. In particular, the thin-film manufacturer believes that it will be able to support a wide range of customers looking to enter the IPP business by accumulating knowledge from the development and operation of its IPP projects.