Etrion, Hitachi nail 34MW financing

Hitachi High-Tech and Switzerland’s Etrion have reached an agreement with Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank to finance the development of 34MW of solar at two sites in eastern Japan.

The Japanese EPC specialist and the Geneva-based PV developer first announced plans to develop the 9.3MW and 24.7MW solar arrays in February.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank will arrange 80% of the financing via project debt, with an 18-year tenor.

Etrion, which holds an 87% stake in the projects, and Hitachi High Tech — which owns a 13% interest — will provide the rest of the funds.

This month, the two sides plan to start building the 9.3MW ground-mount solar array on 27 hectares of leased land northeast of Tokyo in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture. Project costs could reach $30m.

The project, set for completion by late 2015, is expected to generate 10.3GWh of electricity per year, to be sold to Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco).

In October, they will also start building a 24.7MW PV plant on a 51-hectare site in Shizukuishi, in northeastern Japan’s Iwate prefecture. The price tag for the project has been estimated at $75m.

They expect the Shizukuishi installation to generate 25.6GWh of electricity per year after they connect it to the grid by the end of 2016. Regional utility Tohoku Electric Power will purchase the electricity.

Both projects qualify for a feed-in tariff rate of ¥40 ($0.39) per kWh.

Hitachi High-Tech will handle EPC and O&M duties, and will supply PV systems for the projects, including the Hitachi group's inverters and amorphous transformers.

In January, Etrion and Hitachi High-Tech agreed to jointly finance and build utility-scale PV throughout Japan, with plans to have at least 100MW in development or shovel-ready by some point in 2015. The aim to develop 300MW by 2017.