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New solar power projects aim to skirt purchase price cuts

TOKYO -- Japanese leasing companies and others look to snap up pre-owned solar power plants and rent out panels to home users, new takes on the lucrative solar business as pending cuts to power purchase prices take the shine off new developments.

     Solar power producers are increasingly selling off older farms because of the cost and effort associated with maintenance and inspection, creating a market for secondhand facilities. Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance unit MUL Energy Investment plans to create a fund of tens of billions of yen as early as summer to buy farms that have been approved for participation in the government's feed-in-tariff scheme, under which utilities buy electricity from producers at set prices. Banks and other institutional investors will put up the necessary capital.

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