'Fukushima Airport Mega Solar' Begins Operation for Testing Solar Equipment

2014/04/16 21:49
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

The government of Fukushima Prefecture started operation of a mega (large-scale) solar power plant with an output power of about 1.2MW on the property of Fukushima Airport.

The government had a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the plant, "Fukushima Airport Mega Solar," April 14, 2014. In view of the nuclear accident after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, it aims to energize the local economy with renewable energy-related businesses while meeting all the power demands in the prefecture with renewable energy-derived electricity by 2040. And the new mega solar plant is defined as a symbol of such a vision.

The government plans to promote the use of renewable energy by involving citizens and private companies. It established Fukushima Hatsuden K K (Fukushima City) as a power producer for the mega solar plant with a capital of ¥98.5 million (approx US$963,702).

It was funded by municipalities in the prefecture and financial institutions and companies based in the prefecture in addition to the prefectural government. The total project cost is ¥400 million, of which ¥100 million was invested through a fund sold to prefectural residents.

At Fukushima Airport Mega Solar, various solar panels and mounting systems were installed. And their properties, etc will be tested in the aim of supporting businesses related to solar power generation.

(Continue to the next page)

The mega solar plant consists of four facilities: (1) the 500kW "Northern Power Plant," where SunPower Corp's solar panels and Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp's (TMEIC) PV inverters were installed, (2) 169kW "Solar Park," where panels of 30 companies based in and outside Japan, six types of mounting systems and Tabuchi Electric Co Ltd's PV inverters were set up, (3) four sun-tracking solar power generation systems (22.5kW) manufactured by Fujipream Corp and (4) 501kW "Southern Power Plant."

For the verification of solar power generation equipment, the Solar Park will be mainly used. The 30 panel manufacturers are based in Japan, China, the US, South Korea, Canada, Germany, India, Norway and Spain. The panels include crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon and CIS-based solar panel products. And the mounting systems include (1) San-Ei Corp's aluminum mounting system for "Ground Screw" foundations, (2) AGC Matex Co Ltd's mounting system capable of changing tilt angle and FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic) mounting system and (3) Okuji-Kensan Co Ltd's wooden mounting system.

Fukushima Hatsuden will conduct the verification test in cooperation with the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA) of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Specifically, the company will compare the properties of the 30 types of solar panels, make researches on "solar cell best suited for the region," "mounting system and construction method according with installation requirements" and "maintenance system for maximizing business income" and provide acquired know-how to local businesses.