Energy / Climate Change

July 20, 2014


Solar Power Project to Meet All Household Electricity Needs in Japanese Town

Keywords: Local government Renewable Energy 

The government of Shizukuishi Town in Iwate prefecture announced on January 22, 2014, that it entered into a cooperation agreement with Etrion Corporation, a solar power producer based in Switzerland, and Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., to develop a large-scale solar power generation project with an output of about 25 megawatts. The companies will jointly establish a special-purpose company dedicated to the project in Shizukuishi Town and will construct a solar park on 51 hectares of private land in the town's Numagaeshi district.

The project will generate enough electricity to power about 7,000 average Japanese households, more than the roughly 6,200 households that are living in the town as of December 31, 2013.

The total cost of getting the plant up and running, which is slated for October 2015, is estimated to be about 7.67 billion yen (about U.S.$74.5 million). All electricity generated by the plant will be sold to Tohoku Electric Power Co. for 20 years through Japan's renewable energy feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme provided for by the Law on Special Measures Concerning Procurement of Renewable Energy Sourced Electricity by Electric Utilities .

The project is expected to contribute greatly to local economic activity through the use of local industries in the process of the plant's construction, and the creation of jobs before and after the launch of plant operations. The project plans to provide environmental education to local children by inviting them for plant tours. The project is also being designed with concern for the environment, using steal piles, for instance, as a foundation for mounting the solar panels, which will be removed after the project ends.