Visit to Plant

Flat, Snow-free Panels for Snowy Regions Adopted at Solar Plant in Hokkaido

2018/01/15 19:21
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Monbetsu City in eastern Hokkaido faces the Sea of Okhotsk and is closed in by drift ice in winter. The "Happy Service Solar Shinsei Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with an output of about 1.5MW, was completed a little way from the central part of the city in December 2017 (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Located in Monbetsu City facing the Okhotsk Sea. The downtown area is near the port (top). The mega-solar plant with an output of about 1.5MW completed in Shinsei, Monbetsu City, in December 2017 (bottom). The Okhotsk Sea can be seen beyond the mega-solar plant. (source: top Nikkei BP, bottom Happy Service)

The capacity of the installed solar panels is about 1.561MW while the grid capacity is 1.5MW.

Generated power is sold to Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc at 36 yen/kWh (excluding tax). Its annual power generation is estimated to be roughly 1,250,000kWh, which is equivalent to the consumption of about 340 general households.

Happy Service Co Ltd (Monbetsu City), which developed and operates this mega-solar plant, is a local company that runs mobile phone sales agencies and other businesses. Established in May 1993, the company also sells Sharp Corp's solar power generation systems as an agency.

Given its relationship as an agency for Sharp's solar power generation systems, Happy Service develops and operates solar power plants with the help of Sharp.

Including this power plant, Happy Service has mega-solar plants with an output of over 1MW each at four locations and smaller plants with an output of slightly less than 50kW, which are connected with low-voltage grids, at two locations. Solar panel and grid capacities of these operating solar power plants total about 5.3MW and about 5.1MW, respectively.