TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Marubeni will build and manage what will become one of the world's largest mega solar power plants, with a capacity of 1.18 or so gigawatts -- more than a nuclear reactor.
The plant will be built in the United Arab Emirates.
With the Paris Agreement, which is aimed at curbing greenhouse gases, having taken effect late last year, the world is shifting toward renewable energy.
Japanese industry is viewing this shift as an opportunity.
The plant is to be constructed on a 7.8-sq.-km desert plot in eastern Abu Dhabi. The land will be on loan from a local government.
Marubeni, which could sign papers regarding the plant as early as next month, aims to fire up the panels in 2019.
Total costs are estimated at 100 billion yen ($868 million). The money is expected to come from financial institutions in the form of project financing. The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority will sign for 60% of the loan package, with Marubeni and Chinese solar panel maker JinkoSolar responsible for 20% each.
The consortium will sell electricity from the plant for 25 years.
The plant will use panels made by JinkoSolar that allow for stable power generation even in dust storms.
The shift to sun-provided power is gaining momentum in the Middle East, which gets heavy doses of solar radiation, the stuff that falls on photoelectric panels and makes them work.
It will be Marubeni's second overseas mega solar plant; the first is in Chile. The trading house, however, manages numerous power plants, mostly thermal, around the world. Together, these plants have about 11GW of capacity.
According to an industry representative, India has a mega solar plant with the capacity of 0.64GW, and China has a plant that has been expanded to 0.85GW. These are currently the world's two largest solar plants.