Rakuten, Ecosystem Japan, Hanwha Launch Solar Business

2014/01/07 17:40
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Rakuten Inc announced Jan 6, 2013, that RS Empowerment Inc (Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo), Ecosystem Japan Co Ltd (Minato Ward, Tokyo) and Hanwha Q Cells Japan Co Ltd (Minato Ward, Tokyo) established RNH Solar West Japan LLC (limited liability company), a special purpose company (SPC).

At the same time, they launched a solar power generation project using the roofs of facilities having contracts with Rakuten Travel Inc and corporate warehouses. RS Empowerment is Rakuten's wholly-owned consolidated subsidiary. The first site will be Yunogou Tourist Hotel Katsuragi, which has a contract with Rakuten Travel.

RNH Solar will install about 3MW of solar panels based on lease contracts for using roofs mainly in western Japan and deal with project finance for the power generation business. It concluded an agreement on the capital necessary for the power generation business with Kansaiurbangin Lease Company Ltd (Osaka City) Jan 6, 2014.

The project finance is different from ones that are for facilities related to group companies. And it is Japan's first project finance that is targeted at a solar power generation project based on lease contracts for the roofs of about 100 facilities owned by multiple companies.

Kansaiurbangin Lease will lease facilities necessary for solar power generation. Ecosystem Japan will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the facilities. And Rakuten will take care of asset management, etc.

In addition, Rakuten plans to improve the earnings stability of the project. Specifically, it will offer compensation schemes that not only offer compensations of normal nonlife insurances but reduce the risk of the decrease in revenue from sales of electric power caused by natural disasters by newly developing "Solar Power Generation System Comprehensive Coverage Plan" in cooperation with a Japan-based major nonlife insurance company.

For the project, a financing method using a nonrecourse loan that limits nonexempt property to the revenue from sales of generated electric power and investment by an anonymous association was employed. It will be carried out by using the "GK-TK Scheme," which uses a limited liability company and anonymous association, reducing investors' risk.

All of the electricity generated for the project will be sold to electric power suppliers, etc for the next 20 years in accordance with the feed-in tariff (FIT) policy.