The project to build a mega-solar power plant on the idle site adjacent to "Roadside Station Itako" selected the power producer in October 2012 through the open-type proposal style organized by Itako City. Along with the corporate group led by Renova, several leading companies participated in the competition. Itako City set up a selection board consisting of experts, which evaluated the proposals and finally gave the highest scores to the proposal by Renova's corporate group.
The proposals were evaluated from a comprehensive perspective including the terms of land lease, policy effects and regional contribution.
"We eventually selected Renova's group based on our appraisal from a comprehensive perspective, but the proposal for the group's regional contribution was highly appreciated, in particular," said Seiichi Hanawa, chief of the Promotional Office to Attract Enterprises, Itako City.
Kiminami also described the features of the proposal, saying, "We incorporated measures that could contribute to the local community, considering the background to Itako City's decision to construct a mega-solar power plant on the huge idle site as well as the fact that the city was in one of the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake."
Founding 'Taiyo-no-Megumi Fund'
The regional contribution includes constructing an observatory to view the mega-solar power plant and to make it easy to use the facility as a place for environmental education (Fig. 3); to locate the headquarters of the TMK that runs the power generation business in Itako City and make it pay the municipal corporate tax to Itako City; and to install solar panels on the roof of the adjoining roadside station and contribute to making the road station a disaster prevention base by equipping it with mobile rechargeable batteries that store generated power.
"Leading companies cannot implement such detailed measures to contribute to the local community," Kiminami said.
Even after being selected as the power producer, President Kiminami of Suigo Itako Solar has considered additional contribution measures by listening to requests from Itako City. One of those measures is the "Taiyo-no-Megumi Fund." This fund is aimed at donating part of the revenues from the mega-solar power plant business as a regional contribution.
First, Kiminami handed over a certificate of ¥1 million (approx US$9,780) to the principals of elementary and junior high schools in Itako City at the completion ceremony on February 1 (Fig. 4). There are six elementary schools and four junior high schools in Itako City, and Suigo Itako Solar donated ¥100,000 to each of them. The company is now discussing with Itako City how they are going to run and develop this fund from now on.
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