Visit to Plant

Solar Power Plant Welcomed as New City Landmark (page 2)

Aim to build close ties with local community by setting up visitor facility

2013/10/07 18:43
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Donating visitor facility to adjoining park

By not deploying the project finance method, the significance of minimizing the long-term risk of the mega solar project and securing solid project revenue for 20 years has not changed. From that viewpoint, Toko Electrical Construction, an experienced mega solar constructor, was chosen as the EPC contractor to handle engineering, procurement and construction.

With the focus on past results, Japanese manufacturers' products were adopted for major components. The solar panels, power conditioning subsystem (PCS) and mounts are manufactured by Toshiba, Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems (TMEIC) and Nisso Pronity, respectively.

To monitor and maintain the operation after launch, Mitsui Fudosan signed a maintenance contract with the Toko Electrical Construction Group while building up a monitoring system in one of its Tokyo offices. They are considering securing maintenance staff with easy access to the site if a malfunction is detected.

Mitsui Fudosan bought insurance policies from insurance companies against disaster risks.

"There was no insurance company that agreed to cover earthquake, tsunami and high tide risks," Yamauchi said. "Although we believe these risks are not high at Higashioki Factory Park, we might give up on the mega solar option if we have to support effective use of CRE in regions likely to be seriously damaged by a major earthquake in the Tokai region, for example."

One of the features of the mega solar power plant being constructed in Higashioki Factory Park is its easy-to-see open location adjoining a green park where people can rest and play. To make use of this feature, since the project was first introduced, Sanyo-Onoda City has requested that Mitsui Fudosan develop a visitor facility where people can study mega solar on a daily basis, with a view to helping environmental education.

However, mega solar facilities, which are power plants housing high-voltage electric reception and substation equipment, have to be fenced off as a rule so people cannot easily get inside the facility. And the visitor facility cannot be used on a daily basis even if it is built inside the site. So, Mitsui Fudosan proposed building an observation deck in the adjoining green park and donating it to Sanyo-Onoda City. Because the panels are about 1.5m high after being inclined at an angle of 10 degrees when mounted, the overall mega solar power plant can only be viewed from a certain height.

"We are very grateful for the offer to donate a barrier-free visitor facility," said Nobuyuki Kido, head of the Corporate Construction Promotion Office, Industrial Construction Department, Sanyo-Onoda City. "We would like to advertise the facility so the mega solar plant can be visited by a lot of people. We do not have a municipal subsidy for mega solar construction but promised to help the project by, among other measures, trimming the trees in the park so they would not shade the solar panels with their branches and leaves."

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