Under these circumstances, the co-op started to move with a definite purpose based on its belief that the project could become feasible as the direction of the FIT program began to show in summer 2011.

As the co-op made its move ahead of other consumer co-ops in Japan, it also ran into an obstacle: the issue of whether the power selling business could be approved as a co-op operation to begin with. Consumer co-operatives rules specify that they run their business targeting co-op members under the Consumers' Co-operative Livelihood Law. Should the co-op generate solar power and connect to the Kansai Electric Power Co Inc's grid to sell the generated electricity, the power would be used not only by the co-op members but also by others.

Regarding this point, Osaka Izumi Co-op sought confirmation from the local office of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, via the Osaka Prefectural government, and found out it could run the business as long as "the amount of power sold does not exceed the power demand by the overall co-op members."

After confirming a co-op can embark on a power selling business, Osaka Izumi Co-op started selecting a company to order the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) service. Comparing and examining proposals by different enterprises, the co-op finally decided on basic design specifications such as output scale and installation method, requested quotations from three candidates and chose Tess Engineering.

The basic design specifications included the 1.3MW and 1.0MW outputs of the panels to be mounted on Techno Stage Logistics Center and Ayumino Logistics Center, respectively. And the installation method was that the panels would be directly attached to the folded-plate roof. Should the panels be installed to face south at an angle of 20 to 30° using mounting systems on the roof, the amount of power generation would increase, but the construction cost would also sharply rise.

The co-op said it worked out that the method to install the panels almost directly flat onto the roof would be the most beneficial when giving priority to boosting the cost-effectiveness and accelerating investment recovery.

EPC constructor Tess Engineering has grown through and has a good track record in cogeneration (combined heat and power) system installation and maintenance. As for solar power generation systems, Tess Engineering had constructed small-scale facilities at clients’ plants to which it had delivered cogeneration facilities even before the implementation of the FIT program.

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