REC, a European supplier of solar panels, cut the ribbon on a brand new 1.7 MW solar power plant in Yonago, Tottori, Japan in a ceremony on March 27, 2013.
Built by REC partner Advantec, the plant comprises 7,056 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels and is expected to generate over 1,840 MWh of clean, green electricity every year - enough to cover the power needs of 510 households.
The ceremony was attended by numerous high-profile figures - including the Mayor of Yonago City, Yasuo Nozaka and His Excellency Arne Walther, Norway's Ambassador to Japan - and marks REC's latest venture in the increasingly important Japanese solar market.
Advantec and Japanese radio & TV station BSS (Broadcasting System of San-in) equally share the ownership of the plant, with Advantec already active in the solar electricity business, having been a partner of REC in Japan since 2011.
The new project is important for REC -demonstrated by the attendance of Ambassador Walther at the opening event. "While energy saving and increased imports of fossil fuels, especially liquefied natural gas, has been the immediate response to reduced reliance on nuclear energy, accelerated development of renewables, not least solar, is emerging as a desired longer term priority," highlighted His Excellency Arne Walther, Norway's Ambassador to Japan. "I am happy to see REC, a company headquartered in Norway, leading the way for the next generation of solar energy. Not least with partners in Japan."
REC opened an office in Tokyo last year to better serve this burgeoning market. With Japan leapfrogging other countries in terms of growth in its solar electricity capacity, the new solar plant in Yonago puts REC firmly on track for increasing its business in the country. "Japan is a very attractive market in terms of its feed-in tariffs. Despite a cut in tariffs from April 1, investors can still expect sufficient returns," adds Go Sekiguchi of REC in Japan. "Not to mention the benefits to the environment. The new plant in Yonago will reduce CO2 emissions by around 1,200 tons per year."