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Solar Plant Designed With Consideration for Residential Areas (page 3)

Green solar power plant on former factory site

2014/01/12 15:06
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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To install the number of solar panels needed to secure the projected amount of power generation despite such a layout, the area of solar panels was expanded from the initial plan of approximately 30,000m2 to 40,000m2.

As groundcover, clover was planted. Given its ability to root well, clover was expected to stop other weeds growing and covering the solar panels. In addition, clover itself does not grow high, and is hence optimal as groundcover that spreads at a low height without covering the solar panels.

The effect of the clover had two contrasting outcomes depending on where in the site it was planted. There were places where the groundcover effect was achieved, but there were places where it was not fully achieved. Yomeishu Seizo analyzed this problem and concluded it could be attributed to location. The land slopes slightly from the southwest corner to the southeast corner. Clover is thick and dense in the moist southeast side, to which rainwater runs, while many other kinds of weeds have grown in the southwest side, where the clover did not root well (Fig. 4).

Based on these circumstances, weeding is likely to be needed more frequently in the areas where clover did not grow well, compared with other mega-solar power plants. Yomeishu Seizo already weeded the plant twice in the summer. The weeding cost about ¥2 million (approx US$19,214) each time.

There were other considerations that needed to be paid to the residential areas. For example, in the southeast side at the lowest point of the mega-solar plant, an embankment was built by piling up soil to prevent a large amount of water from running from the plant into the residential areas after heavy rain (Fig. 5). Some concrete garbage collection sites were also set up for the local residents in such a form that they cut into the mega solar power plant's site.

In addition, sand in the site was sometimes stirred up and blown by the wind into the surrounding residential areas while the plant was under construction. As a measure to prevent this, sprinklers and stopcocks have also been installed (Fig. 6). Water is drawn from a well.

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