Decreasing dependency on nuclear energy has been one of Japan’s biggest issues since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011. Green activists and citizens groups have been pressing for cleaner and safer energy but many people have also pointed out that simply replacing nuclear with highly polluting traditional energy sources like oil or gas would only be taking a step backwards. With Japan facing increasing pressure to increase its reliance on renewable resources, many private companies are becoming aware of the new opportunities in the energy market.
The number of solar generator projects has increased over the past few months and projects are also becoming bigger and bigger, including two major projects by SoftBank/Mitsui and Idemitsu. Netizen comments show, however, that despite generally strong public support there are still many people who don’t agree with increasing solar power production.
Softbank and Mitsubishi to build the country’s biggest mega solar panel
[Tokyo, November 29, Reuters] Softbank and Mitsubishi announced that they will jointly build a large scale solar energy generator (‘mega solar panel’) in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture. It will have an output capacity of 39,500 kilowatts and will require an investment of approximately 10 billion yen. When construction work starts in July next year, it’s predicted to be the largest solar energy facility in Japan.
SB Energy (located in Minato, Tokyo), which handles the natural energy branch of Softbank Group’s operations, and Mitsubishi & Co. will jointly finance the project but most of the funds come from project financing through loans from financial institutions. Expecting to produce 39.5 million kilowatts (which amounts to the usage of about 11,000 standard households), they plan to sell the energy generated to Chugoku Electric Power Company.
Commenting on their plans to contribute to society by focusing on renewable energy, Softbank’s president Masayoshi Son said in a press conference that ‘We’ve already set an objective to find a location and negotiate with local landowners, but the plans now span over dozens of locations and exceed a total production of 200 megawatts (200,000 kilowatts)’. He explained that their objectives were clear when they announced that they would branch out into this industry last year. He also stated that ‘After we’ve actually started the generator project in July, additional plans from across the country will one after another come under consideration’, emphasizing that it was a good time to expand the scale of their works.
Idemitsu branching into the mega solar panel industry, using a former military oil refinery
[Tokyo, December 3, Reuters] Idemitsu Kousan announced on December 3 that it will branch out into the mega solar panel (large scale solar electricity generation) industry. They plan on building a mega solar panel with an output capacity of 10 megawatts in a former military oil refinery in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, a project which they aim to start in March 2014. When they reach their expected capacity of about 13 million kilowatts, they will fill the needs of approximately 3800 households.
Comments from Yahoo Japan:
The company’s name really suits a mega solar panel [the kanji for Demitsu, 出光, literally mean ’emits light’].
Masao Son is buying Korean solar panels. It’s a waste of government money.
Once again energy prices will go up and because the more solar energy is produced the more the deficit will increase, it’ll just end up being the end consumer footing the bill.
I’m not against solar energy, but I don’t want to pay a lot of money for sunlight…
Please promote clean energy more and more
We really need to increase energy conversion efficiency…. Is it really that hard?
I hope that they make a great, sophisticated commercial for the mega solar company to feature in a certain music programme (which will remain unnamed) that really fits with the programme.
Idemitsu, stop raking it in with electricity at 42 yen per unit [about 50 cents]! You’ll be hated by other industries, basically, you’ll be hated by your customers!
Japanese firms, especially Fuji Film and Idemitsu, are really confident in their own diversification. Even though Kodak is a leader in digital cameras, they ruined themselves by trying to find profit in the film industry and the Big Three and the major oil companies are always involved in government scandals and are destroying themselves. I think that the strength of Japanese companies is that their business development is generally sound and stable. I want them to try harder
Do the people who think solar energy is good also think that the sales system is good? For example, even if the customer doesn’t need it, they’re forced to buy everything at the company’s own price. It’s a horrible business which even the yakusa would be ashamed of. Anyone who’s done even the slightest amount of work will understand. Making people buy everything on the company’s terms is unfair. Is it really okay for things like this to be allowed?
I think a mega solar panel is kinda not efficient in terms of space
They’ll build a mega solar panel with an output capacity of 10 megawatts in a former military oil refinery in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, and they aim to start the project in March 2014. They expect to produce about 13 million kilowatts but the high cost of solar generators will be an excuse for energy companies increasing their prices. Unless someone notices this, Japan’s growth rate will definitely suffer another blow. Politicians (especially Edano) should be a bit more serious with politics. I don’t think we need any.
I hope that solar power becomes a threat to power companies in the future.
Yeah but…. Solar… really doesn’t produce much energy….Even alternative energy isn’t easy…!
Energy prices will just steadily increase with this.
They should just give up. Solar power companies have all failed in America.
That’s the only way they can make a profit on solar energy. When Softbank makes a profit, things get dangerous!
They’ll place the burden on the consumer when they make comparatively more expensive and less efficient electricity.
We won’t be able to pay for solar energy production.
Invent a way to get free energy!
Support clean energy