Mega-solar plant on former university site
A street called "Rikadai-dori" can be found as you turn left on prefectural road No 151 after driving about 2.5km from Kuki Station on the JR Tohoku Line and the Tobu Isezaki Line. However, Tokyo University of Science (TUS; Rikadai) is no longer there.
TUS School of Management's Kuki Campus opened in Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture, in April 1993. At the time, the city tried to attract universities through such efforts as establishing roads around the campus. Being unable to attract as many students as it expected amid the decline in the 18-year-old population, however, TUS relocated its School of Management to Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, and shut down Kuki Campus at the end of March 2016.
On September 30, 2018, two and a half years after TUS withdrew from the city, a huge building with four stories above ground and a gross floor area of 151,501m2 was completed on the former campus site. The next day, October 1, a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with Kuki City's largest-class output of 2.39MW began operation within the same site. However, there are no visible solar panels on the ground.
The completed building is "ESR Kuki Distribution Center (DC)," a logistics facility, and the mega-solar plant was set up on its rooftop (Fig. 1).
ESR Ltd (Minato-ku, Tokyo) developed, owns and manages this logistics facility. The ESR Group was established by the US investment company Warburg Pincus LLC joining the entity after the business integration of e-Shang Cayman Ltd (e-Shang), which developed logistics and other facilities primarily in China and Korea, and the Redwood Group, which developed logistics facilities primarily in Asia and Japan in 2016. The group has its headquarters in Hong Kong and develops, owns and manages logistics facilities, in particular, in Asian metropolitan areas.
The ESR Group has constructed and runs about 150 logistics buildings with a gross floor area of over 11,000,000m2 in six countries, namely China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India and Australia. In Japan, the group has completed nine facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area including Kuki City, two in the Nagoya area and three in the Osaka area, and is constructing facilities in other sites.