SunEdison, the solar development unit of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., said it plans to build solar power plants in Japan over a five-year period at an initial cost of 350 billion yen ($4.6 billion).
The second-largest U.S. maker of polysilicon is in talks with local governments including Niigata and Fukuoka prefectures on project sites, Jackie Okawa, a spokeswoman for SunEdison Japan Corp., said today by phone from Osaka. Capacity will total 1 gigawatt, she said, confirming a report by the Nikkei.
Japanís parliament passed a bill in August guaranteeing prices higher than market rates for wind, solar and geothermal energy to encourage renewable-energy development and rely less on nuclear energy following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster in March. Similar legislation in Germany and Spain has spurred solar companies to install panels.
While Japanís incentive program is due to start in July, the government hasnít set the prices. ďWe canít start building plants until rates are set, as we canít calculate project costs,Ē Okawa said.