Katsunobu Aoki, CEO, GIGA Solar
Katsunobu Aoki, CEO, GIGA Solar, speaks about the technological advancements and challenges of the solar industry in Japan, and its UAE potential
The technology in this field has progressed significantly due to establishment of Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy.However, the trend of prioritising nuclear and thermal power generation is still continuing and it has prevented the spread of renewable power generation.
In Japan, there are completely different environments such as Hokkaido and Okinawa. Hokkaido has a problem with snow, Okinawa has to struggle with typhoons; but GIGA Solar has strengths designing special ground mounted structures, construction methods for the foundation and so on. We have been involved in constructing large-scale solar power plants nationwide.
Projects and investments
Since off-the-shelf products are not available for such harsh circumstances, we have invested in developing new ground mounted structures, earth screw piles and so on, which are special for such environments.
We have also focused on developing heavy machinery for constructing solar power plants in order to increase safety and efficiency. We have been involved in several projects dealing with double digit MW scale and are also proceeding with off-grid projects in overseas such as Southeast Asia and other regions.
An important factor for financing is "if it can sell electricity with stability". In this case, there are two important points. One is to build quality power plants that are reliable, the other is to work within constraints of the Feed-in Tariff Scheme. In Japan's case, the latter enabled investors to finance projects.
We regard the difficulties of constructing MW scale solar power plants in the desert as a good opportunity. At this time, we propose utilising special earth screw piles to anchor the building to the foundation well suited for the desert and cutting costs as a first step.
The latest trend is the ground mounted solar power plants. Compared to setting solar panels on a rooftop, it costs less and generates electricity more effectively. We would like to spread construction of power plants by utilising the desert in Dubai.