Visit to Plant

Farmland Transformed to 27MW Solar Plant, Consideration Given to Goshawks

2018/02/17 16:54
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Mount Daisen (1,709m above sea level) in Tottori Prefecture, the highest mountain in the Chugoku region, is sometimes called Hokifuji, because of its appearance (like Mt. Fuji) and the former name of the local administrative area (Hoki-no-kuni) (Fig. 1). The mountain is one of the prefecture's most popular venues, on par with the Tottori Sand Dunes, and is part of Daisen-Oki National Park.

Fig. 1: Mt. Daisen in winter. The photo was shot in February 2018. (source: Canadian Solar Projects)

On August 10, 2017, the "CS Tottori Daisen Solar Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a total output of 27.3MW, started commercial operation in Toyofusa, Daisencho, Saihaku-gun, to the north of Mount Daisen.

Leading solar panel manufacturer Canadian Solar Inc developed and operates this plant (Fig. 2). Canadian Solar Projects KK (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo), which is engaged in solar power generation business in Japan, developed the plant, while special purpose company (SPC) Clean Energies XXI (Daisencho, Tottori Prefecture) is the power producer.

Fig. 2: The CS Daisen Shimizuhara Power Plant. Looking small on top is the Toyofusa Power Plant. (source: Canadian Solar Projects)

The power plant in Tottori Daisen consists of two mega-solar plants located about 1km from each other. The two separate power plants share one grid point and grid facility for transmitting power to the extra-high-voltage power transmission cable of Chugoku Electric Power Co Inc. Although such a grid connection method is unusual, some similar cases have been known (See related article).

Canadian Solar Projects raised 7.4 billion yen (US$66 million) as capital (See related article 2). With Goldman Sachs Japan Co Ltd (Minato-ku, Tokyo) appointed as trustor, a "dual-tenor green project bond trust beneficiary right" and "trust asset-based lending (ABL)" were utilized.

When making use of non-recourse bonds issued for this power plant, Goldman Sachs Japan acted as the bond arranger, while Hitachi Capital Trust Corp was appointed as trustee.

Given the location near the Daisen area, which is known for its diverse and rich ecology including natural forests and wild birds, Canadian Solar said it would properly develop and operate the plant in close partnerships with the local community, the municipality, related organizations and so on.