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'Solar Sharing' Might Bring Extra Income to Farmers (page 2)

Multi-profit-type business stemming from solar sharing

2013/10/24 20:41
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute
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Power generation amounts exceed estimates

A power generation facility set up in accordance with this notice can be found in the orchard of Renaissance Eco Farm. It is located in a deforested area in Migita, Hofu City, Yamaguchi. Solar panels are mounted on the pergola-like mounting systems with intervals so that the Japanese apricot trees, basil and strawberries beneath can get sun (Fig. 2).

Its maximum output is 250kW, and all the generated electricity is sold at a fixed tariff of ¥42 (approx US$0.43) per kWh. Power sales of about ¥10 million are projected for the first year. The total construction cost was approximately ¥80 million.

The employed solar panel is a polycrystalline silicon solar cell manufactured by Hanwha SolarOne of Korea. A total of 880 solar panels with 258W of maximum output are used to produce 250.8kW in total. The PV inverter is a product of Yasukawa Electric. The plant started selling electricity June 12, 2013, and has since generated more power than expected.

It is said that there are concerns about safety when simple tube style members are used to assemble mounting systems for a solar sharing approach. In Renaissance Eco Farm’s orchard, however, the mounting system has a robust structure using H-shaped steel for the 3.3m post, with X-shaped reinforcing members added to some of the spaces between posts (Fig. 3). Kyudenko stressed, “We designed it, assuming an instantaneous wind velocity of 36m, since this is a power generation facility after all.”

The X-shaped reinforcing members need to be set in consideration of the position and direction of their layout depending on the crops being raised and the size of the farmland. This is because, for example, they could block tractor routes and other farm equipment when implementing agricultural work.

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