Kyocera to build Japan's biggest solar power plant

High-tech manufacturer Kyocera said Tuesday it will build Japan's largest solar power plant to help solve an electricity crunch in the almost nuclear power-free country.

Kyocera said it will join forces with heavy machinery giant IHI and Mizuho Corporate Bank to construct a solar power plant capable of generating 70 megawatts of electricity, in southern Kagoshima prefecture.

The planned output is equivalent to 40 percent of industrial solar cells shipped domestically in 2011, Kyocera said in a statement.

It will provide enough electricity for roughly 22,000 households annually and, if replacing power generated from fossil fuels, will offset around 25,000 tones of carbon dioxide, it said.

The "mega-solar plant" is expected "to help solve Japan's power supply issues caused by the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to make a contribution to environmental protection," the statement said.

Japan has struggled with a serious power crunch after last year's massive tsunami triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis, which led to the shuttering of all but one of the nation's 54 nuclear reactors amid safety fears.

For the 25 billion yen ($307 million) project, the three companies plan to create a joint venture in June and start constructing the plant in July, the statement said.

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