Visit to Plant

Public-private Solar Plant Energizes Agriculture in Kumamoto (page 2)

2019/10/22 20:23
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Comprehensive partnership with Koshi City

The power producer is Koshi Agricultural Project GK, a special purpose company (SPC) funded by Kumamoto Flour Milling Co Ltd (Kumamoto City) and Shizen Energy Farm Inc (Nishino-omote City, Kagoshima Prefecture) of the Shizen Energy Inc (Fukuoka City) Group engaged in the renewable energy business, and Koshi City.

These funding stakeholders are related to the "Koshi Agricultural Energy Project," which is also used in the power plant's name.

This project started when Shizen Energy and Koshi City signed a comprehensive partnership agreement and began to discuss renewable energy adoption and a structure to return some of its income from power sales back to the local community.

As the plan to construct a mega-solar plant on an idle site in the city and use part of the income from power sales for energizing agriculture was selected as an interest-free loan project of the "Projects on Early Establishment of a Renewable Energy Model that Contributes to Local Communities" conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the project led by the SPC of the three entities started moving ahead (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Comprehensive partnership signed between Koshi City and Shizen Energy (source: Shizen Energy)

To be more specific, some of the revenue from the mega-solar plant is used to support two types of agricultural promotion projects dubbed "protective agriculture" and "aggressive agriculture," respectively.

In the "protective agriculture," 5% of the income from power selling by Koshi Agricultural Energy Project GK, the SPC that runs the mega-solar plant, is donated to the land improvement districts of Koshi and Nishikoshi for the purpose of establishing and improving drains and other agricultural infrastructure. The 5% corresponds to roughly 2,600,000 yen per year.

In the "aggressive agriculture," Shizen Energy Farm, Kumamoto Flour Milling and Koshi City, which fund the SPC, individually donate part of the dividends they receive to Koshi Agricultural Energy Fund and collectively utilize the funds to energize local agriculture (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5: Scheme chart of "Koshi Agricultural Energy Project" (source: Shizen Energy)