by Mina Mesbahi & Saori Minamino, Solarplaza

According to the analysts at RTS Corporation, Japan installed approximately 7 GW of solar capacity in 2017, about 50% of which was taken up by the utility-scale sector, followed by the non-residential and the residential sector. At the beginning of 2018, the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) announced its renewed mission, “JPEA PV OUTLOOK 2050”, aiming for 200 GW of solar PV by 2025. The current installations represent over 50 GW, following an upward trend despite the dropping growth rates. Forecasts indicate an additional 17 GW of capacity being connected to the Japanese grid by the year 2020. This growth is, and will continue to be, bolstered by the increasing number of companies investing in solar to boost grid capacity. To identify the key solar asset owners in preparation for Solar Asset Management Asia 2019, we have compiled a list of top 50 operational solar portfolios in Japan.


Top 10 Japanese Solar Portfolios

# Company Name Portfolio size(MW) Projects Type Active region Hokkaido/
Tohoku
Hokuriku/
Chubu
Kanto/
Koshinetsu
Kinki/
Chugoku
Kyushu/
Okinawa
1 Orix Corporation 750 116 IPP Japan nd nd nd nd nd
2 GE Energy Financial service 428.8 6 Investor Japan, other countries 14 - 42 276.6 96.2
3 SB Energy 392.3 32 IPP Japan, Mongolia, India 145.5 72 5.4 87.9 81.5
4 Mitsui & Co. 310.5 8 IPP Japan 111 135.9 2 19.6 42
5 Vena Energy 290.9 16 IPP Japan 139.4 - 127.7 21.4 2.4
6 NTT Facilities Inc. 279.5 81 IPP Japan 20.6 32.8 115.01 48 63.1
7 Japan Renewable Energy Corporation 256.1 35 IPP Japan 74.7 14.2 88.3 55 23.9
8 Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation 247 9 IPP Japan 181 - 12 54 -
9 Kun Umi Asset Management 235 1 IPP Japan - - - 235 -
10 Pacifico Energy 227.4 4 IPP Japan 56.9 - - 74.3 96.2

*F.O. = See Full Overview


Market Composition & Key Observations

The top 50 solar portfolios in Japan represent a total capacity of 6.9 GW. More than 45% of the capacity of the top 50 portfolios is made up by the 10 largest operational portfolios on the list. This capacity is spread out over 308 projects. Further analysis of the 10 players with the highest capacity indicates that the cumulative capacity of the top 10 portfolios has increased by 30% over the last year. The top 10 portfolios individually range from 227.4 MW to 750 MW. Sitting at the top, Orix remains the largest solar asset owner in Japan for the third consecutive year.

The Japanese solar market is highly fragmented, which is certainly reflected in the data. The top 50 portfolio owners account for merely 14% of Japan’s cumulative capacity. Comparing the Japanese solar asset ownership landscape with that of North America, the top 50 North American solar portfolios account for more than 27% of the region’s total capacity, verifying a more segmented market in Japan. With respect to portfolio types, IPPs account for the highest capacity, followed by investors and funds. In terms of location, there is somewhat of an even distribution of the solar assets comprising the top 50 portfolios. Based on the data we could gather, Kinki/Chugoku is home to the highest share in the top 50 solar portfolios, whereas Hokuriku/Chubu represents the region with the least concentrated capacity.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2


The overview of top 10 Japanese solar portfolios has changed over the last year. This change has spurred growth both in terms of cumulative capacity and total number of projects of the top 10 portfolios. As stated earlier, the total capacity of the top 10 portfolios has expanded by 30%. The number of projects, however, has only increased by approximately 13%. The noticeable difference between the capacity and number of projects for individual top 10 portfolios is illustrated in figure 3. This data indicates that larger owners manage bigger-scale projects, and hence their portfolio is distributed among a smaller number of projects.

Looking at individual portfolios, there have been some remarkable changes. One noteworthy example is Equis Energy, which owned 249.9 MW worth of solar assets at the end of 2017. At the beginning of 2018, the company was acquired by Global Infrastructures Partners (GIP) and Vena Energy was born, currently owning a portfolio of 290.9 MW of solar PV. In total, there are 7 portfolios which have stood the test of time and retained their position in the top 10 portfolios over the last year. Figure 4 showcases how the capacity of these portfolios has changed since the end of 2017. Orix has grown the most out of these portfolios, upping its capacity by 44%. In July 2018, Orix launched a 55-MW solar plant in Niigata Prefecture, making this plant its largest-scale solar power plant in operation.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Given the dynamic policy landscape of Japan, it will certainly be interesting to follow how this list of operational portfolios will transform over the next year. Additionally, Solar Asset Management Asia 2019 will examine how these asset owners have consolidated their position in the Japanese market. The experts will further dive into opportunities and challenges associated with growing and diversifying Japan’s solar portfolios.

To learn more, join us at the 5th edition of  Solar Asset Management Asia (30-31 May 2019, Tokyo), a pre-eminent conference dedicated to optimization of the operational phase of Japanese solar assets. The Solar Asset Management conferences create a unique convergence of opportunities to network, learn and share knowledge, representing industry views across the entire asset management and O&M spectrum.

Should you have any remarks, please contact Saori Minamino at saori@solarplaza.com or tel. +31 10 280 9198


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