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Japan Explodes with Enthusiasm Over Solar Energy

Japan Solar Plant OpeningThe future of Japan got a little bit brighter with the opening of a massive 70-megawatt solar power plant in Kagoshima on November 4th. Government officials have exploded with enthusiasm as they attended its grand opening and continue to foster legislation to ensure a healthy market for renewable energy.

The impressively-named Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant represents the largest investment in solar power by a private Japanese company. Kyocera Corporation, known worldwide as manufacturers of electronics such as cell phones and printers, founded a spin-off nameplate in collaboration with six other companies in order to build and operate the facility. They procured special financing from a private bank and cut a deal with the owners of the site where the plant was slated to be built. Kyocera remains the primary controlling shareholder of the Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation, and will reimburse its backers through future sales.

The investors are optimistic about getting their money back. Plans for the Kagoshima plant were encouraged by the Japanese government, which then crafted legislation that favors the project. As it operates, the solar power producers will enjoy a two-fold benefit: firstly, the 2012 institution of the current version of Japan’s feed-in tariff guarantees a fair rate per kW/hr of energy that accommodates the higher costs of building and maintaining the specialized technologies used to produce solar power; and secondly, the tenets of that program require all local utility providers to purchase 100% of the solar power available to their grid. Kyocera and its allies as a result are now providing a product that is guaranteed to sell, and to do so at a profitable price.


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