Japan Installs 11 GW of Renewable Energy in Two Years

Japan has added 11,090 megawatts of clean energy capacity since July 2012, when it began an incentive program to encourage investment in renewables, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Of the total, Japan has added 10,880 MW of solar capacity through the end of June, according to METI data updated on Sept. 26.

Japan, which has a total population of 127 million, has approved 71,780 MW of renewable energy projects, according to the ministry data. Solar accounts for 96 percent of the approved capacity.

In related new, a unit of General Electric Co. and partners will get a 90 billion yen ($822 million) loan from Japanese banks to build a 231-MW solar power station in western Japan.

GE Energy Financial Services, Toyo Engineering Corp., and Kuni Umi Asset Management Co. will build the 110 billion yen station in Okayama prefecture, the companies said in a statement today.

Construction will start in November and the station will start running in 2019, according to the statement.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will serve as lead arrangers of the 22 1/2- year syndicated loan, which will also be provided by regional financial institutions.

Yasuyo Yamazaki, the president and chief executive officer of Kuni Umi Asset Management and a key player in the project, said: “In addition to the Setouchi solar project, we developed a mega-solar power plant in Mito-city Ibaraki Prefecture and started the construction of a woodchip biomass fuel power plant in Kawaminami-cho, Miyazaki Prefecture. Now we are planning a wind farm in Nakadomari-cho, Aomori Prefecture. With these projects, we are contributing to the Ideal Region Development with renewable energy.”

Sushil Verma, a managing director and Japan business leader at GE Energy Financial Services, said: “Japan’s favorable regulatory policies make solar power attractive and diversify the country’s power generation sources. For us, the Kuni Umi project expands our international and renewable energy footprints, which already include investment commitments of $1.8 billion in equity and debt in more than one gigawatt of solar power projects worldwide.”

In addition to capital, GE will supply some of the inverters — marking the debut in Japan of the GE 1 MW Brilliance Solar Inverter, which eliminates the need for an intermediate transformer, resulting in higher conversion efficiency and superior grid performance, according to GE.

Lead image: Japan Flag via Shutterstock

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