First-Ever Social Contribution Mega-Solar Power Plant Project in Japan

to be Installed by Buddhist University, Government, and Corporate Collaboration

January 2013

Ryukoku University in Kyoto, the Inami township in Wakayama prefecture, and Kyocera Solar Corporation have announced that they are working together to install the country’s first-ever social contribution mega-solar power generation plant under the provisional name, the Ryukoku Solar Park. Ryukoku University is undertaking this socially responsible investment (SRI) project to create a first-ever model of its kind in Japan by combining the resources and know-how of Inami township and Kyocera. Furthermore, Ryukoku University, Inami township, and Kyocera will use this opportunity to cooperate in working on lifelong learning and local revitalization projects. Ryukoku University was established as a Buddhist seminary, called a gaku-ryo or “boarding school”, in the precincts of the Nishi-Hongwanji temple of the Jodo Shin Pure Land Buddhist denomination by its 13th abbot, Ryonyo, for the promotion of research and Shin Buddhism education. Being established in 1639, it is older than Shoheiko, the official Edo Shogunate school, and is thus one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Japan.

Project Background
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese society has been re-examining its approach to civic life and economic activities in view of reflections on its nuclear power-dependent energy policy and electricity shortage issues. Moreover, the challenge of finding a solution to energy problems has become pressing, combined with the ongoing dilemma of how to control carbon dioxide emissions.

Under these circumstances, interest in renewable energy has been growing in society, and the idea of finding a model for renewable energy has become an important theme. Along with the introduction of a feed-in tariff (FIT) system, there has been demand for a new business model for the spread of renewable energy, and now, there are expectations from regional communities for the potential of this new type of project.

The social contribution mega-solar project model was derived from the research results of a Ryukoku University project to study the “formation of a regional system for local public human resource development and renewable energy use”. This project was selected by the independent Japan Science and Technology Agency for implementation within the project for “community based actions against global warming and environmental degradation.”

Based on the devised model, Ryukoku University, Inami tonwship, and Kyocera are cooperating to realize the social contribution mega-solar project.

Project Overview
Since the start of the new FIT for renewable energy, momentum has been growing for construction of mega-solar power plants. The purpose of participating in this project is based on the concept of creating the highest percentage possible of energy that is consumed in the community with renewable resources.

Specifically, using funds invested by Ryukoku University, the mega-solar power generation project with a combined total of 1.85MW will operate at the Ryukoku University Fukakusa Campus and on land owned by the municipality in Inami township. The solar power installation will use 7,500 of Kyocera’s high output multi-crystalline silicon solar modules. Annual power generation is estimated to be 1.9 million kWh with construction to begin in May 2013 and operations to begin in July 2013 at a total cost of 700 million yen.

The power generated will be sold to the regional utility company under the terms of the FIT program. The revenue from the sale of the power generated will be provided to social contribution and citizen’s activities in the Wakayama prefecture and Kyoto areas where the solar power plants are to be installed.

edited from official news release on January 16, 2013.

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