Visit to Plant

Japan's Largest Solar Plant Withstands Ash, Salt, Strong Wind

Widespread effort to realize 70MW output, finish construction in 14 months

2013/12/01 19:56
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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"I feel very happy about what we have achieved starting from the poor power generation equipment of the time when we had just started our research into solar panels," said Kazuo Inamori, Kyocera Corp's chairman emeritus.

Japan's largest solar power plant to date, the "Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant" in Nanatsujima, Kagoshima City, built by Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corp (Kagoshima City) led by the Kyocera Group, with about 70MW output has started generating power (Fig. 1).

The power producer, Kagoshima Mega Solar Power, is financed by seven firms: KDDI Corp, IHI Corp, Kyudenko Corp, the Kagoshima Bank Ltd, Bank of Kyoto Ltd, Takenaka Corp and Kyocera. The solar panels are produced by Kyocera while the PV inverters are produced by SMA Solar Technology of Germany. A construction consortium formed by Kyocera Solar Corp (Kyoto City), Kyudenko and Takenaka constructed the plant. And Kyocera Solar and Kyudenko operate and maintain the facilities. The total funding, about 27 billion yen, was raised by project finance managed by Mizuho Bank.

The plant is expected to generate approximately 78,800MWh per year, which corresponds to the amount of power consumed by 22,000 households. The generated power is entirely sold to Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc. The amount can provide 2.2% of the power demand in Kagoshima Prefecture. The plant was constructed on a landfill site facing Kagoshima Bay, which was previously used as an IHI plant. IHI will receive rent for the land for about the next 20 years while participating in the solar power business as a sponsor.

Approximately 290,000 solar panels in front of Sakurajima Island

The sight of 290,000 solar panels arrayed neatly in front of Sakurajima Island has a certain impact, as if you were viewing a sea of solar panels (Fig. 2).

The roughly 1,270,000m2 site is about 27 times larger than the Tokyo Dome. It takes about 1.5 hours to walk the 4.3km outer perimeter. It is so big that graders (construction vehicles used to flatten land) featuring GPS (global positioning system) were used to grade the site.

In the foundation work to arrange the 290,000 solar panels, 20,000m3 of concrete was used from 5,400 cement mixer trucks. The foundations to hold the mounting systems, the weight of the steel beams of the assembled mounting systems and the number of anchor bolts totaled 37,660 units, 4,840t and 150,000, respectively. To complete this construction in 14 months, a total of 78,000 workers from 208 Kyushu-based construction companies were employed on the site. At its peak, 450 workers per day were used.

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