Ryukoku University; Inami Town: KYOCERA Solar Corporation, PLUS SOCIAL, and The Trans Value Trust Company have announced that they are working together to install the country’s first-ever social contribution mega-solar power generation plant. The 1.85-megawatt solar project will sell the electricity generated under Japan’s generous feed-in tariff (FIT) and donate the profits to local communities, creating a model that provides funds to solve social problems, while promoting the spread of renewable energy.
Ryukoku University developed the socially responsible investment (SRI) project to create the first-ever model of its kind in Japan by combining the resources and know-how of the parties involved. Furthermore, Ryukoku University, Inami Town and KSC will use this opportunity to cooperate in working on lifelong learning and local revitalization projects in the future, including lecture events for local students on renewable energy.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese society has been re-examining its approach to residential energy use and economic activities in view of reflections on its nuclear power-dependent energy policy and electricity shortage issues. Moreover, the challenge of finding a solution for energy problems has become even more pressing combined with the ongoing dilemma of how to reduce CO2 emissions.
Under these circumstances, interest in renewable energy has been growing in Japan, and the idea of finding a model for renewable energy has become an important theme in society. Along with the introduction of a FIT program, there has been demand for a new business model for the spread of renewable energy, and now, there are expectations from regional communities for the potential of this new type of project.
The social contribution mega-solar project model was derived from the research results of a Ryukoku University project to study the “Formation of a Regional System for Local Public Human Resources Development and Renewable Energy Use” (representative: Katsutaka Shiraishi; professor, Policy Department, Ryukoku University). This project was selected by the independent Japan Science and Technology Agency for implementation within the project for “Community-Based Actions against Global Warming and Environmental Degradation.”
Since the start of the new FIT for renewable energy, momentum has been growing for construction of utility-scale “mega-solar” power plants. The purpose of participating in this project is based on the concept of creating the highest percentage possible of energy that is consumed in the community with renewable resources.
Specifically, using funds invested by Ryukoku University — PS and Trans Value will operate the mega-solar power generation project (combined total of 1.85MW) at the Ryukoku University Fukakusa Campus (Kyoto City) and on land owned by the municipality in Inami Town, with the power generated to be sold to the regional utility company under the terms of the FIT program. The solar power installation will use 7,500 of Kyocera’s high output multicrystalline silicon solar modules.
The revenue from the sale of the power generated — minus the operating expenses incurred by the non-profit company PS — will be provided to social contribution and citizen’s activities in the Wakayama Prefecture and Kyoto areas where the solar power plants are to be installed.
Overview of Ryukoku Solar Park (provisional name)
|Power Output||Approx. 1,850 kW|
|Annual Power Generation||Approx. 1,900,000 kWh|
Feb. 2013: Conclude agreement between parties; final related paperwork.
May 2013: Start of construction.
Jun. 2013: Complete construction.
Jul2013: Start of operation.
|Project Cost||700 million yen (approx. U.S. $8 million).|
Planned Installation Sites
Aerial view of planned Inami Town site
Planned Inami Town site
Artist rendering of the completed installation at the Inami Town site
Roof of the planned Ryukoku University site
Exterior view of planned Ryukoku University site
- Ryukoku University, Inami Town, KSC, PS, and Trans Value will cooperate to develop a social contribution mega-solar power plant.
- The collaboration will pass along the profits from solar power generation to local communities, creating a model that provides funds to solve social problems.
- Establish a model for the spread of renewable energy.
Division of Labor
- As the project operators, PS and Trans Value to organize installation of solar modules (Kyocera-made) at the Kyoto Fukakusa Plant (Ryukoku University campus); Wakayama Plant (on sites owned by the municipality and PS in Inami Town).
- Ryukoku University to publically disclose the amount of power generation and greenhouse gas emission reductions from the project.
- Inami Town to grant use of municipal land for the power generation plant.
- KSC to supply solar modules, and use its many years of technical engineering experience to undertake design, construction and maintenance of the solar installations.
- Ryukoku University and Inami Town to conclude regional partnership agreement, and promote collaborative efforts for local revitalization, etc.
- Ryukoku University to cooperate with environmental education activities for elementary and middle school students in Inami Town.
- Ryukoku University to plan lecture meetings for students and high school students, to which KSC will dispatch lecturers.
- Project operator will donate proceeds from the project to Ryukoku University and local organizations in Kyoto and Wakayama for the purpose of contributing to local communities.
- Trans Value will act as the trust for the installation, control and operation of the Ryukoku Solar Park (provisional name), as outlined in the project scheme devised by Ryukoku University and PS.
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