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The Scale of Mega Solar Projects in Japan Is Expanding

The Scale of Mega Solar Projects in Japan Is Expanding

When it came to mega solar projects from prior to the start of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme, the Ogishima Solar Power Plant (Kawasaki City, Kanegawa Prefecture) of Tokyo Electric Power Company was the largest in Japan at 13 MW. But since the start of FIT, large-scale mega solar projects have been planned, completed, and begun generating power one after another.

As part of this, the 70 MW Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant, which is now the largest in Japan, was completed at Nanatsujima, Kagoshima City in November 2013. It has started to generate power using 290,000 photovoltaic power panels on a plot of land that could house approximately 27 Tokyo Domes. Its generating capacity is equivalent to 22,000 ordinary households.

The Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation (Kagoshima City) that was funded by seven companies including Kyocera Corporation, built the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant. Its overhead investment was approximately 27 billion yen, and it carries out procurement with Mizuho Bank, Ltd. as the managing organizer. As a result of having a total of 78,000 people from 208 construction companies in Kyushu working at the construction site, the plant was completed in one year and two months (see Fig. 1).

Moreover, there are a number of projects that are currently either under construction or being planned for within Japan, which are shown in Table 1. These include a 400 MW power plant being planned by Photovolt Development Partners of Germany on abandoned farmland on the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, a 230 MW power plant that uses the former Kinkai-enden site in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, a plant that is under construction in Watari Town, Miyagi Prefecture (NTT Group), a 100 MW power plant that is under construction in Abira Town, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido Prefecture (SB Energy Corp.), and a project in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture (Eurus Energy) (see Fig. 2).

However, the construction of even more enormous power plants is proceeding apace around the world.

The Sumitomo Group is currently building a solar power plant (Desert Sunlight Solar Farm) that will be the largest such plant in the world at 550 MW (total project costs of roughly US$2.3 billion), and which will require approximately 9 million solar panels. The plant is being built on approximately 16 km2 of land owned by the US government on the outskirts of Palm Springs, California, and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2015. The Sumitomo Group together with NextEra Energy and GE Energy Financial Services serve as the implementing body. Based on its RPS, the State of California has mandated that its power providers must procure 33% of the total amount of power generated from electricity from renewable energies by the year 2020, with the expectation being that this project will contribute enormously to the achievement of this goal. (February 2014)

 

Fig. 1.  Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant (provided by Kyocera Corporation)
Fig. 1.  Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant (provided by Kyocera Corporation)


Table 1.  Mega solar power plants under construction or being planned (over 100 MW)

  Installed capacity Business operator Site Status
1 400 MW Photovolt Development Partners Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture FS underway
2 230 MW Kuni Umi Asset Management Co., Ltd., etc. Kinkai-enden, Okayama Prefecture FS underway
3 115 MW Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture Under construction
4 111 MW SB Energy Corp./Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Abira Town, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido Prefecture Under construction
5 100 MW Sumitomo Corporation Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture FS underway
6 100 MW NTT Group Watari Town, Watari District, Miyagi Prefecture Under construction

FS: Feasibility study

 

Fig. 2.  Site map for mega solar projects greater than 100 MW that are under construction or being planned
Fig. 2.  Site map for mega solar projects greater than 100 MW that are under construction or being planned

 

Reference material:
• Homepage of Tokyo Electric Power Company
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/challenge/energy/megasolar/index-e.html
• Kyocera Corporation Topics 2013.11.05
http://global.kyocera.com/news/2013/1101_nnms.html
• Toshiba Corporation Overview of Solar Power Systems 2013.12.08
http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/ir/jp/private/presen/pr20131208.pdf
• Setouchi City Basic Plan for Utilizing the Former Kinkai-enden Site
http://www.city.setouchi.lg.jp/kinkai/pdf/2013_0404_kihonkeikaku.pdf
• Sumitomo Corporation News Release 2012.10.03
http://www.sumitomocorp.co.jp/english/news/detail/id=25547

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