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Showa Shell, DBJ Agree to Invest in Solar Projects in Japan

Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., the Japanese refining unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and Development Bank of Japan Inc. agreed to set up a venture to finance utility-scale solar power plants in Japan.

Solar Frontier K.K., a unit of Showa Shell, will take a 60 percent stake in the venture, while state-run DBJ will hold the rest, Solar Frontier said in a statement today. The venture will invest in projects totaling 100 megawatts a year, according to the statement.

The partners could finance projects worth as much as 40 billion yen ($454 million) a year, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier, without saying where it got the information.

Solar Frontier will supply its thin-film panels for the venture, according to Akane Yamiya, a company spokeswoman. She declined to comment on yearly project funding.

Solar Frontier makes panels using copper, indium, gallium and selenium, known as CIGS.

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