Sharp, Mitsubishi, Osaka Gas Collaborate on Canadian Solar Project
From left: Mari Morimoto, General Manager, Solar Power Energy Development and IPP Business Center, Solar Systems Group, Sharp Corporation;
Munehiro Ito, Senior General Manager, Energy Resources and International Business Development Department, Osaka Gas;
Masao Ikeya, General Manager, New Energy & Power Generation Division, Mitsubishi Corporation
On June 15, 2012, a press conference was held to announce that Sharp Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. have agreed to jointly purchase and operate a large-scale solar power generation project comprising nine sites in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The project—designed to generate approximately 100,000 kW—is presently being developed and built by Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp.
Osaka Gas and Mitsubishi will each provide 44.95% of the investment for the project, while Sharp (via Recurrent Energy) will provide the remaining 10.1%. Investment by the three parties will be conducted through a jointly established company in Canada. Commercial operations are expected to begin at the end of this year and gradually expand through to the end of 2013.
Since instituting a clean energy plan in 2009, the Ontario provincial government has been working to promote a shift from coal-fired power generation—which has a heavy environmental impact—to power generation that makes use of cleaner energy sources such as wind, solar, and bio-energy. Under the clean energy feed-in tariff system being introduced in the province based on this plan, this project will sell the electricity produced to the Ontario Power Authority at the rate of 0.443 Canadian dollars per kilowatt hour (around 35 yen/kWh) over a 20-year period.
At the press conference, Mari Morimoto, Sharp’s General Manager of the Solar Power Energy Development and IPP Business Center, outlined the details of the project and noted that Sharp will be responsible for ongoing servicing and maintenance.
It was also noted at the press conference that the solar project will effectively harness the complementary business strengths of the three companies: Sharp’s proven track record in solar power development; Osaka Gas’s extensive know-how as an energy service provider in Japan; and Mitsubishis experience in overseas IPP (independent power producer) investments and operations.