Kyocera to Build World's Largest Floating Solar Plant

2014/08/29 20:10
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Kyocera Corp announced Aug 29, 2014, that it will install one of the world's largest floating solar power plants in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.

Kyocera TCL Solar LLC, an SPC (special purpose company) jointly established by Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp (TC-Lease), will build the mega (large-scale) solar power plant by procuring a "floating mounting system" from France-based Ciel&Terre International. The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in September 2014 and be completed in April 2015.

A floating mounting system is a floating structure used to install solar panels on the water. Ciel&Terre's floating mounting system, "Hydrelio," is made of high-density polyethylene, which is resistant to ultraviolet light and corrosion, and 100% recyclable.

The Hydrelio was developed by Ciel&Terre, which now owns patents on it. And at least one of the Hydrelio mounting systems installed in France has already been in use for more than three years. Its strength design and connecting technology enable the system to withstand even typhoons.

Kyocera TCL Solar plans to engage in the construction of floating mega solar plants by using Ciel&Terre's floating mounting systems. For its first project, it will start to build solar power generation systems whose total capacity will be about 2.9MW on two ponds in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, in September 2014. According to Kyocera, the mega solar plant that will have an output of about 1.7MW and be built on one of the ponds will be the world's largest solar power plant floating on the water.

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Kyocera TCL Solar has developed solar power plants on 28 sites in Japan (total output capacity: 92.8MW), and plants on 11 of the sites have already started operations. As solar power plants are being introduced one after another across Japan and the number of potential construction sites for mega solar plants is decreasing, the company will embark on the business of running floating mega solar power plants while continuing to develop conventional plants on the ground by using idled land, etc as well as plants on the roofs of manufacturing plants, storehouses, etc.

In Japan, where the precipitation greatly changes throughout the year, there are many ponds such as agricultural irrigation ponds and regulating reservoirs to be used in case of a river rise. By using the water surfaces of such ponds, Kyocera TCL Solar will run power generation businesses. With regard to its floating solar power plant business, the company has so far received more than 100 inquiries. And it aims to develop about 60MW of floating mega solar plants by using reservoirs, etc across Japan in fiscal 2014.

Floating mega solar plants gain a cooling effect because they are installed on the water; as a result, they are expected to generate a larger amount of electricity than solar power plants installed on the ground or roofs. Also, covering the water surface, they prevent the impounded water from evaporating and algae from abnormally growing.