Installation of solar panels on the rooftops of ZEN-NOH Iwate facility.
Mitsubishi Corp Starts Distributed Solar Power Business Using Agricultural Facilities in Iwate
The National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations (JA ZEN-NOH) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) reached an agreement in July 2012 to jointly promote the solar power business by using the rooftops of facilities owned by farmers around the country and JA group’s shared facilities. The partners subsequently established the joint venture, “JAMC Solar Energy Company (JAMC Solar)”, in October 2012 to oversee the implementation of the system.
JAMC Solar will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of developments at ZEN-NOH Iwate’s facility on June 5th In Hanamaki, Iwate. This is the first project to be implemented by JAMC Solar. The system will be installed on the rooftops of ZEN-NOH Iwate’s rice warehouses, with plans to start selling electricity to Tohoku Electric Power Company from this September. With a generation capacity of 799 kW, this is the largest installation among those set up on the rooftops of agricultural facilities, sufficient to supply the equivalent of about 130 households.
Since its establishment, JAMC Solar has been promoting these projects all over Japan, and some 80 sites, roughly 30MW of capacity, have been eligible for the feed-in tariff since 2012. This first project marks the start of JAMC Solar’s efforts to develop further projects in this area.
In addition to targeting livestock barns and warehouses for developing this installation method, JAMC will expand its potential locations to other unused non-farm lands, thereby raising its potential generation capacity by an additional 90MW during the course of this year. JAMC has also designated the period from April to June as their main promotion period, during which the main focus will be to identify appropriate locations for additional facilities.
The JA group agreed at their 26th National Convention held last October to fully promote the introduction of renewable energy at agricultural facilities. By implementing this decision, JA ZEN-NOH will support the revitalization of local community while reinforcing their agricultural business infrastructure. MC will take advantage of the broad experience and networks it has obtained through involvement in the PV business. The project is yet another example of MC’s efforts towards creating sustainable economic, societal and environmental value, one of the main tenets of its New Strategic Direction, released in May.