Japanese Firm Rents Rooftops of Carports for PV Generation

2016/11/22 14:01
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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The "e-hizashi" carport having a roof integrated with solar panels and emergency power outlets (source: Kakuichi)

Kakuichi Co Ltd announced Nov 9, 2016, that the number of users of the "e-hizashi" carport having a roof integrated with solar panels and emergency power outlets has reached 400 in two and a half months after it was released.

The e-hizashi is a sunshade that combines solar panels and a roof, and it can be used for parking two cars. Kakuichi (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), which deals with garages, warehouses, etc, owns the solar panels and sells electricity generated.

Those who purchased the carport can use it as a parking space or a luggage area on a daily basis while receiving a rent for the power generation space. When the power grid goes down at the time of disaster, etc, the carport can be used as an emergency power source for charging mobile phones, etc by switching the PV inverter to the stand-alone mode.

The eave height, width and depth of the e-hizashi are 2,789mm, 6,730mm and 5,063mm, respectively. The solar panel-integrated roof is equipped with 20 commonly-used crystalline silicon panels. By signing a contract with Kakuichi to lease a power generation space for 20 years, it becomes possible to install the carport with an investment of ¥149,800 (including tax, approx US$1,357), which is about half the cost of a conventional aluminum carport.

Kakuichi runs a business of renting the rooftops of agricultural warehouses that it sells, installing solar panels on them and selling electricity generated to power companies. Thus far, the company has contracted with more than 7,500 users, and the total capacity of power generation facilities has reached about 55MW.

Though the business was previously targeted only at large-size agricultural warehouses, Kakuichi developed the e-hizashi carport integrating solar panels and a roof to utilize small spaces and realize a business model that requires only a small investment.