Solar Power Systems Being Sold in Lots in Japan

2013/11/25 17:07
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Sun Capital Management Corp announced Nov 22, 2013, that it formed Sun Energy Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and will launch a business of dividing large-scale solar power plants built in view of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme into smaller (less than 50kW) systems and selling them through the LLP.

Sun Energy was established Sept 20, 2013, in Chuo Ward, Osaka City, being funded by Sun Capital Management, etc. The LLP looks for and selects sites suited for the business of selling power generated with a solar power generation system and builds systems. At the same time, it handles application and notification to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and power companies, which are necessary for selling power based on the FIT scheme.

Customers interested in the solar power generation business can invest in it by purchasing an area or areas of solar power generation systems developed by the LLP. Specifically, the customers purchase the solar power generation facilities and rent the lands. After purchase, the LLP will provide services such as for cleaning the solar panels, weeding the land and enabling the customers to monitor the amount of generated power with a smartphone in addition to insurance policies including compensation for business interruption.

In general, the construction of a mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plant costs several hundred millions of yen for initial investment. But by using the purchasing system provided by Sun Energy, the minimum amount required for initial investment becomes ¥20 million (approx US$196,309, excluding tax).

Several business operators have built such solar power generation systems and stated to sell them in lots to investors. For example, Hidakaya, a firm based in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, is building one in Yurihama-chou, Tottori Prefecture. Sometimes, they are sold as "solar power generation with land." One set (subdivision) has a power output lower than 50kW. And the lands are either rented or purchased.

A solar power generation system whose output power is less than 50kW can be connected to a low-tension distribution line of a power grid and does not require any transforming equipment. Therefore, it can be installed in a short period of time.