Softbank To Be Largest Solar Operator In Japan

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Softbank Corp. (9984) will have megasolar plants operating in seven different domestic locations by next year, producing a combined 256.5 megawatts and making the company Japan’s largest solar power firm.

Softbank will start operating megasolar plants in Kyoto and Gunma Prefecture this coming Sunday, the first day of the feed-in tariff system, and is building plants in Tokushima and Tochigi prefectures that are set to begin operations this fiscal year. These four facilities will have a combined production capacity of 14.2mw.

Softbank will soon ink agreements with local governments for megasolar plants in Tottori Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture. And within the year, it will begin construction on a 200mw Hokkaido plant that will be the nation’s largest.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (9432) is diving into the solar power business as well. It plans to spend some 15 billion yen to build megasolar plants in 20 locations throughout Japan with a combined output of 60mw by fiscal 2014.

Telecommunications firms like Softbank and NTT are establishing a foothold in the power industry with an eye toward future sales of smart-grid data communications infrastructure.

(The Nikkei, June 26 morning edition)