Kyocera says that Kyocera TCL Solar, its joint venture with Century Tokyo Leasing, has begun operation of a 2.4 MW solar power plant in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. The Takamatsu Ikushima Mega Solar Plant is the first to be launched under the company’s business plan to operate up to 35 small- to mid-size utility-scale solar power plants in Japan.
Under the new company’s business model, Century Tokyo Leasing finances solar projects with Kyocera supplying 100 percent of the solar modules, system construction and ongoing maintenance.
In addition to the Takamatsu Ikushima Mega Solar Plant, ten similar projects are already under construction or in the planning stages. Five of these ten plants will have capacities less than 2 MW, thus eliminating the cost of high-voltage transmission lines. Including these plants, the company plans to undertake up to 35 projects within two years — all small- to mid-size utility-scale power plants, which can be constructed faster than larger utility-scale installations. The plants’ cumulative capacity is estimated at 60 to 70 MW. All electricity generated will be sold to utilities through Japan’s FIT system.
This month marks one year since the launch of Japan’s restructured feed-in-tariff (FIT) for solar power generation, which has stimulated such demand for industrial-use solar power generating systems that Japan is now poised to surpass Germany this year as the world’s largest solar market, according to IHS iSuppli. In 2012 Japan implemented a new FIT with particularly high PV tariff rates (more than 40 cents per kWh) as part of its post-Fukushima policy.