Firms Share Profits From Solar Plant on Former Landfill Site

2013/11/12 17:11
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Sumitomo Corp and eight other companies announced Nov 11, 2013, that a mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plant built in Yumeshima, Konohana Ward, Osaka City, Japan, started power generation.

The plant, whose output power is about 10MW, was built in the aim of making use of a landfill site for the disposal of, for example, the ash produced by burning general waste. Several companies having capital, know-how, etc participated in the power generation business by using a leasing method to share the construction cost. And each of them receives a profit from power generation in accordance with its investment ratio.

All of the generated electricity is sold to The Kansai Electric Power Co Inc (KEPCO).

The construction site, whose area is about 15ha, was provided by the government of Osaka City, making the project an "environmentally-enhancing project involving businesses" participated by both public and private organizations. This scheme is called SGS (solar-power group share). With this scheme, many companies can participate in the project; therefore, the entire community is involved with the project, the companies said.

In November 2012, Sumitomo, Jupiter Telecommunications Co Ltd, Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd, Daihen Corp, Hitachi Zosen Corp, Rengo Co Ltd and NTT Facilities Inc launched a construction plan. Then, The Sumitomo Warehouse Co Ltd and Osaka Shinkin Bank participated in the project.

The power generation system is owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Co Ltd, and Summit Energy Corp manages it.

In Japan, landfill sites such as the site of the new mega-solar plant can be used only for limited purposes until their purification is finished even after they are covered. Because it is not possible to freely construct a building on such sites or even enter them, it has been difficult to make use of them.

The purification is done by repeating a cycle of building a mound on waste, letting rain soak into it, sucking up the water with a pump, purifying the water and disposing of it into the sea for a certain period of time. Mega-solar power plants are attracting attention as facilities that can realize the purification despite the limitations. And such plants include the ones located in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chita City, Aichi Prefecture.

Because the site of the new plant has such limitations, the plant receives a grant-in-aid for paying interest from the Cabinet Office as a specially designated project and a tax deduction from the government of Osaka City.