Tokyo, Japan, November 1, 2016 – As one of Japan’s leading renewable energy independent power producers, Nippon Renewable Energy K.K. (representative: Adam Ballin, main office: Minato-ku, Tokyo, hereinafter: “NRE”) and Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation (representative: Kosuke Matsuzaki, main office: Minato-ku, Tokyo), announced a comprehensive technology partnership in conjunction with the commissioning of NRE’s latest 36MW solar power plant, Mito Solar Power Plant, located in Mito city, Ibaraki Prefecture (“Mito Solar”).

Mito Solar is NRE’s largest commissioned solar power plant to date and forms part of a 510MW solar generation portfolio across 9 prefectures in Japan. Mito Solar generates 43,420MWh of energy per annum and occupies 42 hectares on the site of a former golf course. On an annual basis, it provides 8,713 households with electricity, saves 25,326 tons of CO2 as well as 43.3 million liters of water. In addition, its construction created 250 local jobs for civil, electrical and construction contractors.

NRE is headquartered in Tokyo with three offices in Aomori, Fukushima and Ibaraki Prefectures. NRE is focused on the long-term ownership and operation of solar power plants incorporating the highest standards of technological and operational excellence. As a vertically integrated IPP, NRE has the in-house capabilities to take projects from initial planning to commercial operations, covering all phases of project development and financing, technical engineering, construction management, and operations and maintenance. It operates with a fully integrated local team of 57 professionals with expertise in land acquisition, technical design, project management and O&M.

In recognition of Schneider Electric’s expertise in containerized power conversion technology, NRE and Schneider Electric have established a technology framework agreement to deploy Schneider Electric’s proprietary PV-BOX systems on 17 future solar project sites (10 of which are under construction). This is in addition to the 5 sites (105MW) that NRE has already installed Schneider PV-BOX systems. By combining the main power conversion equipment into a single package, the PV-BOX reduces system costs and space, while improving maintainability.

NRE has also partnered with Schneider Electric to provide electrical O&M services across its 510MW solar portfolio. Schneider Electric will co-locate 20 professionals at NRE’s offices in order to provide a market leading quality of service on the preventative and corrective maintenance of inverters and all related AC equipment including transformers, MV switchgears, DC boxes, array boxes and control monitoring systems via a 98% availability guarantee and 24 hour emergency response times. NRE will utilize Schneider Electric’s proprietary monitoring and data analysis systems, Conext Controls and Conext Advisor, to ensure optimal performance management on each solar plant.

“NRE is committed to the long term success and viability of the Japanese renewable energy industry, and the strengthening of Japan’s overall energy security. We are working diligently to build and operate facilities that produce clean, safe and sustainable electricity that we and the local community can take pride in. In order to enhance our position as a leading industry player, NRE will continue to adapt its business to embrace changes in the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, recent electricity deregulation, regulatory developments and technological enhancements,” said Adam Ballin, Representative Director of NRE.

“Schneider Electric is excited to form a strong partnership with NRE in both inverter components and electrical maintenance services to contribute to the effective and efficient operation of renewable energy facilities in Japan by providing products and solutions that are highly reliable and offer a good return on investment,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Frot, Solar Power Generation Global Business Vice President at Schneider Electric.

NRE strives to serve as a responsible Japanese corporate citizen and member of its local communities with CSR initiatives centered on education, health and environmental awareness. NRE has partnered with Schneider Electric to donate 10kW solar systems to local public schools to provide free electricity and educate students on the benefits of renewable energy.


About Nippon Renewable Energy K.K.

Nippon Renewable Energy K.K. is an independent Japanese renewable energy utility business with its head office in Tokyo, Japan and local offices in Aomori, Ibaraki and Fukushima prefectures. NRE employs a strong local team of experienced development, design, project management engineers and investment professionals who are designing, financing, constructing and operating over 500MW in Japan. For further information about Nippon Renewable Energy, please visit

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€27 billion in FY2015, our 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

Press Contacts:

Nippon Renewable Energy

Ayako Masse

TEL: 03-5425-7220

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Schneider Electric Japan

Mayumi Kanamitsu


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In 1987, the Brundtland Report was published and the term sustainable development  was coined. One of the key concepts of the Brundtland report has been to give priority to the needs of the world’s poor. However, 20 years after its publication, 1.1 billion people worldwide are still lacking the basic access to electricity and 87 percent live in rural areas. At Schneider Electric, sustainability is at the heart of our company strategy and we strive to solve the global energy dilemma as we believe that access to energy is a basic human right.

Yet today’s energy demands on the planet are enormous with global primary energy demand expected to increase 32 percent by 2040. How do we meet the increased energy demand while undertaking the challenge of bringing clean energy to everyone? How can we balance this energy paradox responsibly? Our future depends on how we meet the energy challenge and how we create more efficient, more sustainable and more innovative solutions to ensure that Life is On™ everywhere.

2 degrees Celsius

This is the limit in global temperature rise if we are to avoid irreversible damage to our planet and thus our society. To keep global temperatures from rising, greenhouse gas emissions need to fall as much as 70% around the world by 2050 and to zero by the end of this century. Yet, greenhouse gas emissions will rise with the increase in energy demand while a decrease by 41% is required for the world to achieve the environmental targets, outlined at Paris Climate Conference (COP21). We are committed to solving this challenge and at COP21 in December 2015 we announced to become a carbon neutral company by 2030 with 10 commitments to support our sustainability objectives.

Our continuous efforts in sustainability haven’t gone unnoticed and we have been named Industry Leader in the DJSI World and Europe Index for the 4th consecutive year. The index is the result of annual evaluation of companies’ sustainability practices in which over 3,400 listed companies around the world are analyzed, based on questions focusing on economic, environmental and social factors. While we are honoured by this recognition, climate change remains a global challenge and a challenge for everyone.

Tackling the energy challenge

Energy efficiency targets can only be met through the right energy mix with a focus on increasing the share of renewable energy and innovative solutions. Solar energy combined with our innovative solar and energy storage solutions provide a reliable, powerful and environmentally safe alternative. With more than 15 years of experience in solar and energy storage management, we help companies minimize their carbon footprint and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

For more information, view Strategy & Sustainability Highlights 2015 – 2016.

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Living at the edge of the grid, a distant community in Western Australia experienced severe power quality and uptime issues. Bush fire, a natural disaster common in the area knocked down the poles and overhead lines, with a high cost for the local utility to restore and maintain. Thomson Solar and Schneider Electric partnered to create a solution by powering the community with a standalone off-grid system. This solution is replicable to all small and mid-size dwellings living at the edge of the grid suffering from power-quality issues and where utilities must invest a large amount to maintain the commitment of reliable power for a small customer base.

As the homeowners were electing not to reconnect to the local utility grid, the system had to meet certain operating standards. The goal was to generate electricity on-site independently of the grid, using storage to assist in operating large three-phase loads while also providing power at night and during cloudy conditions. The system was designed to provide grid autonomy, yet with no undue inconvenience for the homeowners.

Schneider Electric provided a solution at a fraction of the cost of replacing power poles and overhead lines. The entire system is self-contained, and was deployed in a short time frame to restore power to the site. It shows that solar energy can be more cost-effective. This, in short, is the promise of standalone energy systems.

Read our full case study to learn more about this project, and why the Conext XW inverter charger was chosen for this project.


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No decision has more impact on the system cost and performance than the choice of inverters as this dictates design constraints for much of the balance of system. Today, system designers have more options than ever when architecting solar systems. While this may seem like a great advantage, these options necessitate an ever-growing number of decision points in the design process.

Before selecting brand or model the designer must first choose the macro level class of inverters, central or three phase string inverters. Until recently, the normalized price of string inverters (as measured in $/W) was much higher than central inverters, making the decision to use central inverters for utility-scale quite straightforward. That unit price gap has greatly diminished, resulting in a heightened debate on the relative merits of central and string inverters, often without empirical data to support the arguments.

The jury is still out on which is the so-called “best solution” and likely for good reason as the overall system size has such a significant impact on the relevant answer. In my article for Renewable Energy World, I analyzed the relative merits of central and string inverters in a typical system in North America.

The analysis is limited to the relative costs of central and string inverters for utility-scale projects in North America in three areas: CAPEX, inverter service life and true cost of service.

Read article on or view in-depth version with further analysis of utility-scale system performance requirements and operating efficiency here.


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