Marubeni to supply PV modules for 52.45-MW solar project in Japan


Japanese firm Marubeni is to supply solar photovoltaic modules for total capacity of 52.45-megawatts to Renatus Soma Solar Park in Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan.

Renatus was jointly formed by domestic solar developers, including Kyudenko and Orix.

The modules are to be installed at a solar power project being developed in the Isobe district of Soma city.

As many as 198,000 photovoltaic panels manufactured by South Korea-based Hanwha Q CELLS are to be deployed at the solar farm. They are expected to generate about 60 gigawatt hours of electricity annually. The facility is expected to commence operations by June 2017.

For this solar project, Renatus is utilizing land that has been rendered barren by the tsunami of March 2011. The partners plan to allocate a portion of revenue from the project to help revive agriculture in the region.

Japan has in recent times been also repurposing abandoned golf courses to establish renewable energy projects. Similar to tsunami ravaged agricultural land, these courses have been rendered worthless with the ebbing of a real estate wave.

In the past few decades, Japan saw real estate expand dramatically. Developers went into hyperdrive and laid out too many golf courses anticipating demand in the 1980s.

However, the industry entered a phase of decline, and interest among the public for golf fell by 40 percent compared with the Nineties. This has led to many such sporting facilities into disuse.

Kyocera, a key renewable energy player in Japan, has been repurposing such land to generate clean energy. The market for renewable energy has expanded significantly in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 which also caused the Fukushima disaster.

Kyocera is working on a 23-megawatt solar power project on a golf course in Kyoto and another 92-megawatt solar plant on an abandoned golf course in Kagoshima prefecture.

The project in Kyoto is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017, whereas the deadline for the project in Kagoshima has not been announced.

For Japan, abandoned golf courses make ideal sites for solar energy project development, particularly owing to their location and availability of insolation. The sites are also important owing to paucity of space in otherwise sprawling suburbs.

The Japanese example could also be effective in other countries such as the US where such spaces are available.

Ajith Kumar S