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Softbank to Build Japan’s Biggest Solar Plant on Incentives

Solar panels sit at SB Energy Corp.'s Softbank Kyoto Solar Park in Kyoto, Japan. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
Solar panels sit at SB Energy Corp.'s Softbank Kyoto Solar Park in Kyoto, Japan. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Softbank Corp., Japan’s third-largest mobile phone company, said it will build the nation’s biggest solar plant as the country begins an incentive program for clean energy.

The facility in Tomakomai, Hokkaido will start operations in fiscal 2014 and have the capacity of 111 megawatts, Softbank spokesman Naoki Nakayama said today in a telephone interview.

The Tokyo-based company held a ceremony today to mark the start of operations at a 2.1-megawatt solar plant in Kyoto, Nakayama said. The carrier also announced plans to build solar plants in Tottori, Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures as well as a wind power power plant in Shimane prefecture, he said.

Under the incentive plan, Japan’s utilities are required to buy electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal at above-market rates to increase the country’s clean power use and diversify its energy mix. Softbank’s Chairman Masayoshi Son has set up SB Energy Corp. to develop and promote renewable energy projects since the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A 2.4-megawatt solar plant also began operating today in Gunma prefecture, according to a release by SB Energy.

Toshiba Corp. announced June 20 it reached an agreement with the quake-hit city of Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture to build solar power stations totaling 100 megawatts.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at ynohara1@bloomberg.net; Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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