Transition to a carbon-free society
We are committed to popularizing renewable energy including solar, biomass, geothermal and wind to support the transition to a carbon-free society now in progress in countries worldwide. Our solar power generation business in Japan had projects with a capacity of about 1GW* as of March 31, 2019, making us one of the largest solar power producers in Japan. We will leverage the expertise we have acquired to invest in the environment and energy businesses overseas, including renewable energy power generation.
- Total of the mega-solar power generation business and the rooftop solar power generation business; 700MW of capacity is online.
Renewable Energy Business (Japan)
Mega-solar power generation business
We lease idle land throughout Japan that is owned by municipalities, companies and other organizations, on which we construct and operate large-scale solar power generation facilities. These mega-solar projects have a maximum output of over 1,000kW (1MW).
Mega-solar facilities are long-term projects that generate power for 20 years after the period from construction to the start of operation and involve numerous stakeholders along the way. As the business owner, ORIX focuses on safe and stable management of all aspects of the project.
Operation and maintenance are key to stable power plant operations. ORIX outsources solar power plant maintenance and administration to highly reliable industry players and keeps tabs on the status of each plant at all times using remote monitoring systems to maintain high quality of efficient power generation.
Roof solar power generation business
ORIX operates a “rented roof” solar power generation business, utilizing roofs rented out from clients who own large facilities such as factories and warehouses.
Unlike ground-mounted solar panels, rooftop-mounted panels do not require earthworks and grading, allowing for rapid installment and power generation within a short construction period.
The benefit for customers who install rooftop solar panels include effective use of a resource that normally does not produce profit, and improved efficiency of air conditioning systems as solar panels can act as thermal barriers.
From the initial facility design stages, ORIX supports the installment of rooftop solar panels for effective use of resources and efficient generation of electricity. This involves proposals on the design of the facility, as well as proposals on the use of lightweight panels when roofs are structurally incapable of supporting heavy panels.
As this business involves the installment of systems into facilities owned by our clients, we ensure safe and secure construction by having dedicated personnel who advise and oversee the work of contractors. As for the maintenance and administration of the power generation system, we select and commission highly reliable O & M contractors.
This initiative involves the use of roofs of facilities owned by the ORIX Group, including commercial facilities.
Biomass power generation business
We operate the Agatsuma Biomass Power Plant, a wood chip-fired thermal power station in Higashiagatsumamachi, Gunma Prefecture. Wood chip-based combustion power generation is a method of generating electricity by burning wood chips in a boiler and rotating the turbine with the hot steam. Wood chips are a biomass substitute for fossil fuels that enable reduced CO2 emissions, and the power plant generates environmentally friendly electricity because it uses thermal recycling technology. The Agatsuma Biomass Power Plant has a power generation capacity of 13.6MW, and an annual power transmission that reached 86 million kWh in FY2019.3.
Sourcing quality wood chips is crucial for a stable power supply. The plant uses waste wood from construction and tree trimming, and also employs thinned timber* that formerly went unused. We collaborate with Higashiagatsumamachi and the local forestry association to support local forest maintenance and increase the recycling rate for wood chips.
Appropriate processing of ash from combustion is also important. The plant outsources this function to recycling companies so that ash from combustion is used effectively.
At the recycling plant, combustion ash is used for production of roadbed materials and solar panel installation platforms.
- This refers to wood that results from thinning operations that thin out dense trees. It is not suitable for building construction materials and is regarded as wood that is difficult to effectively utilize.
Wind Power Generation Business
We first invested in Japanese land-based wind power generation in 1995; since then, we have accumulated knowledge of wind power generation in Japan and overseas, and used it to research and examine developments in our wind power generation business, including offshore wind power.
・We are investing in "Akita Araya Wind Farm" (maximum output 8.7 MW) in Akita City, Akita Prefecture.
・We are in the process of considering the feasibility of offshore wind power generation in Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture, via marine geological surveys and other means.
Geothermal power generation business
ORIX's "Beppu Suginoi Hotel" (Beppu City, Oita Prefecture) owns and operates a geothermal power plant with a maximum output of 1,900 kW (1.9 MW), which is the largest in Japan for private use. Utilizing such geothermal power generation businesses and expertise in the management of hot spring hotels, we aim to branch out into several locations nationwide and contribute to the vitalization of the local community.
Currently promoted businesses are as follows:
We are conducting a survey on the construction of a geothermal power plant with a maximum output of 6,500 kW (6.5 MW) at Hakodate City Minami Kayabe area in Hokkaido, In Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture, and Kazamaura in Shimokita District, Aomori Prefecture, and Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture, ground surveys for the construction of the geothermal power station have been completed as well, and we are now preparing for the drilling survey. In addition, we concluded an agreement with Hachijomachi, on business utilizing geothermal power generation within the town, and plan to start operation of geothermal power plant with maximum output of 4,400 kW (4.4 MW) in 2022.
Support for installing solar power generation system
We take advantage of our direct, wholesale purchases from manufacturers and our network with construction companies nationwide to support customers' investment in solar power generation facilities at a reasonable price. ORIX provides equipment selection from multiple manufacturers, as well as customized procurement methods including installment payment plans, acquisition of business plan approval of feed-in tariff system, and consultation on applying for subsidies for solar energy self-consumption system installation. We provide support throughout the process from implementation to maintenance, supporting the smooth installment of facilities for customers.
Total capacity of sold panels: 835 MW
Solar carport equipment sales
In collaboration with Toyota Tsusho Facilities Corporation, we sell solar carport equipment (PV carport). We have modified a carport type photovoltaic power generation facility manufactured by the leading German manufacturer, Schletter GmbH, to comply with the Japanese Building Standards Act.* Schletter GmbH has the highest share globally in the solar panel mounting industry. As a distributor in Japan, we provide services including proposals for implementation, design, installation, and post-installation maintenance.
PV carports are photovoltaic power generation facilities used mainly in flat spaces such as parking lots, leading to a more efficient use of space. This not only reduces environmental impact, but also improves customer satisfaction by protecting against hot sunrays and the rain. In addition, facilities’ investment costs can be reduced through revenue from the generated electricity and solar self-consumption. Thus, the cost efficiency can be improved in comparison with operating ordinary carports.
- This product was designed by a consortium of several companies, led by Toyota Tsusho Facilities, and has original Japanese specifications.
Renewable Energy Business (Overseas)
Wind power generation business in India
We are developing and operating a wind power business in India in collaboration with an Indian infrastructure development and investment company, INFRASTRUCTURE LEASING & FINANCIAL SERVICES LIMITED.
This business has developed a total of 23 wind power plants in seven southwestern Indian states that have appropriate wind conditions (with a total output of 873.5 MW). The generated power is mainly sold to state power companies under a feed-in tariff scheme, and partially sold to large-scale energy consumers.
India pledged at COP 21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change) to generate 40% of its total power from sources other than fossil fuels by 2030. To achieve that goal, India is targeting a total output of 100,000 MW using solar power by 2022 and total output of 60,000 MW using wind power.
Distributed solar power generation business in India
In India, we are working on a distributed photovoltaic power generation business with the local mid-sized conglomerate SUN Group. This involves installing photovoltaic power generation equipment on the roofs of buildings or small-scale structures, and the self-consumption of generated electricity. Power generation near sites of electricity demand can suppress power transmission loss. Furthermore, electricity from the power company can be used at night or on days with low sunshine. Distributed power generation utilizing sunlight is locally produced and locally consumed, can be installed in small spaces and does not require the costly investment of transmission and distribution infrastructure. This is useful in India where there are many off-grid regions. Based on these advantages, further demand is expected.
Hydropower generation business in Vietnam
ORIX has a stake in Bitexco Power Corporation (BPC), a hydropower generation company in Vietnam. BPC operates, 20 hydropower plants in Vietnam, some of which are under construction (as of March 2019). The largest player in the hydropower generation business, BPC has a gross power capacity of 895MW.
In Vietnam, electricity demand is growing by more than 10% annually on average, and in 2030 the demand is expected to triple that of 2015. Against this backdrop, the Vietnamese Government has a policy of gradually liberalizing the electricity market in order to respond to the strong demand for electricity. ORIX employs its expertise in renewable energy and electric power retailing to continue to promote business in Vietnam.
Solar power generation business in the U.S.
We collaborate with IGS Solar to install solar panels on the roofs and floors of properties including commercial facilities and schools, and then sell the generated electricity to the host. Panels are installed or under construction at 48 properties in nine states throughout the U.S., with a projected total output of 50,000 kW (50 MW) as of March 2019.
Overseas geothermal power generation business
We have capital participation with Ormat Technologies, Inc. (Ormat), which handles geothermal power generation business among others.
Ormat is the world's only vertically integrated geothermal company that engages in the design, manufacture, sales, and installation of geothermal power generation facilities. It also independently carries out geothermal resource development and geothermal power generation. The geothermal power generation facility has a cumulative installation record with a total output of approximately 2,900,000 kW (2,900 MW) worldwide and holds about 82% of the world's leading share in binary power generation installation capacity. In addition, Ormat is developing business not only in the U.S. but also in Central America and Africa, and has a total generating capacity of 947,000 kW (947 MW) as of March 2019. Through capital participation, we will strategically collaborate with Ormat and will mainly promote geothermal power generation businesses in Japan and Asia.
Investment in the environmental energy sector
Investment in a U.S. battery storage company
ORIX invests in UniEnergy Technologies LLC (UET), which is engaged in R & D and manufacturing of mass storage batteries in the U.S. UET is a venture company established in 2012 by two researchers who invented a new battery electrolyte at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in the US Department of Energy. The next-generation vanadium battery developed by UET has features such as long-time discharge, ease of increasing capacity, and a long lifetime in comparison to other battery technologies. By greatly increasing the energy density of the electrolyte they have succeeded in minimizing the size of vanadium batteries, previously considered its weak point.
Along with the expansion of renewable energy power generation through the promotion of the U.S. government, the introduction of large-sized storage batteries that stabilize the supply of electric power (previously susceptible to weather etc.), is progressing. In addition, in order to suppress the demand charges*1 additionally accrued through peak electricity usage, large-scale electric power consumers, such as commercial buildings, are making use of storage batteries to reduce electricity charges. Against this backdrop, the market size of large-scale storage batteries in the world, including the U.S., is projected to expand to about five times in 2025 compared to 2016. Based on these backgrounds, the market size of the world's large-size storage batteries including the US is expected to expand approximately 20 times in 2030 compared to 2017*2.
UET is aiming to expand sales mainly in Europe and the US market, and in the future, it is also looking at expanding to Japan.
- A component in the US electricity price system that adds extra charges to peak demand. As it accounts for 30% to 70% of the total electricity fee, there is demand for its reduction.
- Source: Fuji Keizai Marketing Research & Consulting Group, Survey of rechargeable batteries worldwide market categorized by sector and product, May 17, 2018