Project Announced to Build 100MW+ PV Power Plant in Hokkaido

2013/10/07 10:00
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute

Japan-based firms announced a project to build a mega-solar (large-scale photovoltaic (PV)) power plant whose power generation capacity will be higher than those of most of the other planned mega-solar plants in Japan.

The plant is the "SoftBank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park," which is scheduled to start operations in the winter of fiscal 2015 in the Hokkaido region of Japan (Abira-chou, Yufutsu-gun) and will have an output of about 111MW. It will be run by Tomatoh Abira Solar Park, a Japan-based fifty-fifty joint venture of SB Energy Corp, which is affiliated with the SoftBank Group, and Mitsui & Co Ltd.

The construction of the power plant is scheduled to begin in mid-October 2013. And its power generation capacity is expected to be 108,014,000kWh, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by about 30,000 households in a year.

Mega-solar projects that have a power generation capacity of 100MW or higher and have already been announced in Japan include (1) the 400MW project led by Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) GmbH, a Germany-based developer of large-scale PV power plants, in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, (2) the 250MW project at a site that was previously used as a salt field in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, and (3) a project of the NTT Group, etc, in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, with a power generation capacity of up to 100MW. The SoftBank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park will be another mega-solar power plant with a capacity of 100MW or higher.

In mega-solar projects with a high power generation capacity of about 100MW, several land owners are usually involved. And it often takes time to make deals with all of them. Also, once such power plants start operations, there will be a major challenge in reducing the influence of the output fluctuation caused by weather changes on power grids.

Nevertheless, on a global scale, the number of mega-solar power plants with a capacity of about 100MW is expected to increase in developing and emerging countries, and it is meaningful to accumulate knowhow to build and operate them. Many people are paying attention to whether the huge projects in Japan will go smoothly or not.