Visit to Plant

Solar Panels of 30 Firms Installed at Fukushima Airport

Supporting growth of reusable energy industry to lead reconstruction

2014/06/16 21:29
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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As you drive on the prefectural road from Koriyama to Fukushima Airport, a solar power generation facility filled with various solar panels will come into view on the right just before reaching the airport. It is the "Fukushima Airport Mega-Solar Power Plant" (Fig. 1) with an output of 1.2MW that started operation after the completion ceremony on April 14, 2014. Fukushima Prefecture led the project and constructed the plant, raising funds from both governments and people within the prefecture.

Reusable energy expected to cover all energy demand in prefecture by 2040

In the wake of the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Fukushima Prefecture advocated the goal to "cover all energy demand in the prefecture with reusable energy by 2040."

"Fukushima Prefecture adopts a great deal of reusable energy with the aim of energizing the local economy not only by power generation itself but also by the reusable energy-related industry," said Shuzo Sasaki, head of the Energy Division, the Planning and Coordination Unit, Fukushima Prefecture.

In fact, reusable energy has been positioned as a savior, and an alternative to nuclear power plants, for the reconstruction of Fukushima. Fukushima Airport Mega-Solar Power Plant was aimed at incorporating the prefecture's policy. The plant plays a role of supporting the enterprises that approach solar power generation and construction projects within the prefecture, while advertising solar power generation to the people of Fukushima. It is also part of its role that the plant adopted various manufacturers' solar panels and mounting systems to compare and verify their properties.

The mega-solar power plant consists of four facilities. They are "North Power Plant" (500kW output) where Toshiba-SunPower Corp's solar panels and Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp's (TMEIC) PV inverters were set up; "Solar Park" (169kW output) where the solar panels of 30 different manufacturers from all over the world, four different types of mounting systems and several compact PV inverters of Tabuchi Electric Co Ltd were installed (Fig. 2); four Fujipream Corp's tracking-type solar power generation systems (22.5kW) (Fig. 3) accompanied by Omron Corp's PV inverter that controls the PV systems; and "South Power Plant" (501kW).

3 types of panels manufactured by 30 firms, 5 types of mounting systems adopted

Focused on, above all, as a verification stage is "Solar Park" that adjoins the airport parking lot. The countries of the 30 panel manufacturers set up in the plant are Japan, China, the US, Korea, Canada, Germany, India, Norway and Spain (see facility overview for the names of the manufacturers). This includes all the currently commercialized three types of panels: crystal silicon type, non-crystal (amorphous) silicon type (Fig. 4) and CIS compound type. The five types of mounting systems set up are SUS Corp's aluminum type for ground screw foundations, Setec's tilt angle-adjustable type (Fig. 5), AGC Matex Co Ltd's fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) type, Dainihon Wood Preserving Co Ltd's (DWP) wooden type (Fig. 6) and Okuji-Kensan's steel type.

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