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1.9MW Solar Plant Goes Public on TSE Infrastructure Fund Market

Wind, hydraulic power plants might be consolidated into operating assets

2019/04/23 23:34
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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6th company to be listed on market

On February 13, 2019, Enex Infrastructure Investment Corp (Minato-ku, Tokyo) went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) Inc's infrastructure fund market. This investment company's operating assets are equivalent to a total panel output of about 37.6MW at five mega- (large-scale) solar power plants.

Itochu Enex Co Ltd is the largest investor (sponsor) of the newly listed Enex Infrastructure Investment, which primarily invests in the renewable energy-based power generation facilities Itochu Enex has developed and operated. As of the time it became listed, Enex Infrastructure Investment's assets totaled roughly 20 billion yen (approx US$179 million).

The "JEN Hofu Solar Power Plant" operating in Kanebocho, Hofu City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, with a solar panel capacity of 1.94MW and a PV inverter rated capacity (grid capacity) of 1.5MW, is one of the power plants financed by this company. The power plant started operation in January 2016 and sells power at 36 yen/kWh (Fig. 1 & 2).

Fig. 1: JEN Hofu Solar Power Plant (source: Itochu Enex)

Fig. 2: Listed on TSE infrastructure fund market since February 2019 (source: Nikkei BP)

Adjacent to 80MW-output coal fired power plant

Enex Infrastructure Investment is characterized by its sponsor Itochu Enex's expertise on power generation facilities which it can utilize. Enex Infrastructure Investment is the Itochu Corp Group's energy trading firm and proactively approaches the electric power business along with its mainstay petroleum product and LP gas marketing. In terms of renewable energy, the company is engaged in solar, wind and hydraulic power generation in addition to thermal power using coal and natural gas.

The investment company developed and is operating the JEN Hofu Solar Power Plant by sufficiently leveraging these advantages.

As the town name represents, Hofu City's Kanebocho was formerly home to a factory of Kanebo Ltd. Kanebo's business stagnated after the bubble economy collapsed, and its assets were sold by Industrial Revitalization Corp of Japan. Itochu Enex rented an idle area at the former Kanebo factory, where it constructed the JEN Hofu Solar Power Plant there.

In fact, Itochu Enex had acquired and taken over a coal fired power plant with an output of about 80MW at the former Kanebo factory. Although this coal fired power plant was originally built for self-consumption, it is now utilized as a power supply for the electric power selling business of the Itochu Enex Group, with group company Hofu Energy Service Co Ltd (Hofu City) maintaining and managing the plant (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Itochu Enex's coal fired power generation facility in Kanebocho, Hofu City (source: Nikkei BP)