1st Project Finance for Agricultural Mega Solar Plant Revitalizes Idle Farmland (2) (page 2)

2017/11/30 20:43
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Young local people established an agricultural production corporation

The farming at the Sosa Mega Solar Sharing No. 1 Power Plant is entrusted to the agricultural production corporation Three Little Birds of Sosa City. The corporation was jointly established in February 2016 by local organic farmers, new farmers and Chiba Ecological Energy. Tsubaki is actually an executive of the corporation, while also being a power producer and a farmer.

In Three Little Birds, young people in their 30s are engaged in organic farming and natural farming. Tsubaki expressed his expectations saying, "A stable income is ensured because of the farming entrusted by the solar sharing project, and young people can now undertake new farming methods including pesticide-free farming and organic farming."

Shimin Energy Chiba has already started the operation of two solar power plants of less than 50kW output, which are connected to low-voltage power lines, in the Kaihata District. It also obtained certifications for about 40 sites for low-voltage projects and two sites for middle-scale solar power plants of about 900kW output. If all the facilities are completed, the total output will exceed 4MW, including the mega solar power plants that are already in operation.

EGpower of Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, which constructs and operates solar power plants in Nagano Prefecture and is engaged in the retailing of electricity with a focus on renewable energies, also constructed solar sharing plants on two sites for connection to low-voltage power lines in the Kaihata District of Sosa City this spring, in collaboration with Shimin Energy Chiba (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9: EGpower is the power producer of this site connected to a low-voltage power line. (source: Nikkei BP)

"Solar sharing increases the income of farmers whose income from farming alone is insufficient and helps revive abandoned farmland," said Hideaki Takemura, president of EGpower. "The significance has yet to be realized in all regions throughout Japan. We would like to expand the successful cases in Sosa City to other regions."