In Focus
PROJECT | Staff Reporter, Japan

Softbank, Mitsui to build Japan’s largest solar plant

Softbank Corporation and Mitsui & Company have signed a contract to build and operate a 40 megawatt solar power that will be Japan’s largest.

The plant at Yonago City in Tottori prefecture in western Honshu is expected to begin operating in July 2013. Softbank and Mitsui plan to start construction of this solar plant as soon as next month.

The companies will split the investment equally and are in talks with other parties about joining the project, said Softbank President Masayoshi Son.

The mobile phone company also plans a 111 MW solar generator on the northern island of Hokkaido that is scheduled to begin operations in fiscal 2014. Softbank plans to invest in about 230 megawatts in renewables, mostly in solar.

Mitsui has helped to arrange for Chugoku Electric Power Company to buy the electricity from the solar plant. The company will also take an active role in the project management, Chief Executive Officer Masami Iijima said. Mitsui derives some 90% of its profit from trading in oil and gas and metals.

The project is being helped along by Japan’s incentive program for clean energy. Japan’s renewable energy incentive plan introduced this year, obliges power utilities to buy electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind at above-market rates.

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