The GPSS Group is a corporate group which invests in a wide range of power generation projects that produce sustainable energy, including solar, wind, small and medium-sized hydropower, geothermal, and biogas. Other business areas include project structuring, investment management, engineering, and energy resource research.
The GPSS Group, together with Local Landscape Co., Ltd. which grows cacao and manufactures and sells original chocolate, in Fukuchihara, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, has started a solar-sharing power generation business "Sustaina-Cacao".
Solar sharing, which enables both crop cultivation and solar power generation by placing solar panels on farmland, is attracting attention as a next-generation form of farmland utilization.
Since the start of the permit system for the agricultural land conversion in 2013, the recognition of this system has gradually increased, and various crops such as vegetables, rice (paddy rice), and fruits have been produced through solar sharing, but solar sharing with cacao cultivation is the first in Japan.
Masaaki Mezaki, the group's CEO, said, "Most cacao is grown in tropical regions. It is not well known how difficult it is to grow cacao in Japan, and that cacao is sensitive to direct sunlight. Located in the south of Japan, Okinawa is also blessed with a great deal of sunshine. Solar sharing with cacao cultivation in Okinawa is also a good fit because the solar panels provide shade”.
("Sustaina-Cacao" Solar Power Plant)
Cacao is a fruit tree that grows in the hot and humid tropics between latitudes 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south across the equator (the so-called cacao belt). Okinawa is located at 26 degrees north latitude, slightly outside the cacao belt, but Local Landscapes is aiming to create people with well-being, communities, and chocolate through cacao cultivation unique to Okinawa through repeated trial and error.
GPSS Group sympathizes with Local Landscapes' idea of "contributing to the discovery of local resources, the creation of local industries, and ultimately the realization of a sustainable society through our own actions” and has decided to support OKINAWA CACAO with its own solar sharing know-how.
Group CEO, Mr. Mezaki said, "Encountering people like Mr. Kawai, the President of Local Landscapes, who is passionate about realizing a sustainable society, has led us to another new power generation business. We will continue to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by providing our expertise to many people who share our goals.
The "Sustaina-Cacao" power generation has already delivered its energy to Okinawa via Okinawa Electric Power Company on August 11, 2020.
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PR team at GPSS Group
[GPSS Group's Solar Sharing]
The GPSS Group, using its own know-how, has already conducted solar sharing projects with grass cultivation in Shikabe and Mitsuishi in Hokkaido, and these two power generation facilities, like “Sustaina Cacao”, are managed and operated by Mirai Society Inc. which is a member of GPSS Group.
The Solar Power Plant in Shikabe
The Solar Power Plant in Mitsuishi
[OKINAWA CACAO at Valentine's World in Matsuya Department Store in Ginza]
The theme for Matsuya Ginza's Valentine's Day in 2021 is "Traveling Valentine".
Under the pandemic, you can't travel, so chocolates from all over Japan will be gathered under the concept of enjoying Valentine's Day as if you were "traveling".
OKINAWA CACAO, which will make its first appearance in a department store, will be exhibited as a sustainable chocolate.
[Overview of Sustaina-Cacao Power Generation Facility]
(1) Power plant name: Genka Fukujibaru Solar Power Plant
(2) Location: Fukujibaru, Genka, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture
(3) Operator: GPSS Holdings Inc.
(4) Farm management: Mirai Society Inc.
(4) Rated output: Approx. 50 kW
(5) Annual power generation: Approx. 600 kW
(6) Start of power generation: August 11, 2020
(7) Facility design: GPSS Engineering Inc.
(8) Construction: Takunan Factory Co., LTD
Local Landscape. Co., Ltd
Company name: Local Landscape. Co., Ltd
Representative: Kei Kawai
Establishment: March 28, 2016
Capital: 3 million yen
Headquarters: 555 Tagari, Ogimi-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa, Japan
Business: Cacao cultivation and research, chocolate production, and sixth industrialization business
Official website: https://okinawacacao.com/