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Japan-Update

Japan state-backed bank, GE team on solar power fund

Fund would be biggest of its kind in country if it reaches target

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A solar power plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, with Mount Fuji in the background.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Development Bank of Japan and America's GE Energy Financial Services have established a fund that will invest in operating solar power plants, raising money from institutional investors looking for promising opportunities in a low-interest-rate environment.

The state-backed bank will invest 33% of the total, while the energy investment arm of General Electric will contribute 10%. Nippon Life Insurance, JA Mitsui Leasing and two other companies have already decided to invest in the fund, which is expected to reach as high as 90 billion yen ($801 million).

There are around 10 funds in Japan focusing on solar power and other sources of renewable energy, but the new fund will be the largest, should it reach its target. The fund expects returns of at least 5% for investors. A subsidiary of trading house Mitsui & Co. will be in charge of recruiting backers.

In addition to investing in a mega solar power plant in Okayama Prefecture that GE is involved with, the fund will buy power plants that meet certain conditions such as location and equipment. By purchasing operational equipment, the fund aims to establish a virtuous cycle that allows businesses to reclaim monies expended on development.

(Nikkei)

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