Etrion unveils first Japan projects

Etrion and Hitachi have pulled back the curtain on the first two PV projects to come out of their recently announced Japanese partnership, with plans to kick off construction at 34MW in the next few months.

Etrion, the Geneva-based PV developer, last month unveiled a development partnership with Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation  aiming to have 100MW of ground-mount PV capacity “under construction or shovel-ready” in Japan by 2015.

The first project to be brought on line will be a 9.3MW array in Mito, central Japan, with construction at the $30m ground-mount array to kick off in the next few months and set to finish in the first half of 2015.  

A 24.7MW array in the city of Shizukuishi, northern Japan, will follow shortly thereafter, and is due on line by late 2015, at an expected cost of $75m.

Etrion and Hitachi have a co-operation agreement with Shizukuishi that will see the city help with Japan’s often difficult permitting process, the developers say.

Both projects qualify for Japan's ¥40 ($0.39) per kWh PV feed-in tariff, which was in place for projects taken beyond a certain threshold by March 2013.

Etrion says that both the Shizukuishi and Mito arrays will be financed “mostly” by long-term, non-recourse yen-denominated debt.

Of the equity portion still needed, Etrion will pick up 85% of the tab and Hitachi the remainder, according to their respective ownership interests in the projects.  

Etrion, which is active in a variety of global PV markets, including South America, says its plans to have 100MW underway in Japan by the end of next year remain on track.

Etrion, whose shares are listed in Toronto and Stockholm, recently raised $80m in a private share placement.