Visit to Plant

Golf Course Management Knowhow Utilized for Mega Solar Plant in Fukushima

2018/06/19 14:55
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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The "Mori Trust Energy Park Izumizaki," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a total output of 10MW, started full-fledged operation in May 2018, on a former golf course in Izumizakimura, Nishishirakawa-gun, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: A mega-solar plant consisting of two plants with a total output of 10MW was built on a former golf course. Solar panels were set up on what had been the fairways and greens. (source: top and left in the second row Mori Trust, others Nikkei BP)

As indicated by its name, this mega-solar plant was developed and is run by Mori Trust Co Ltd (Minato-ku, Tokyo).

The project site is the former "La Foret Shirakawa Golf Course" run by Mori Trust.

Mori Trust had been running this 18-hole golf course, but closed it when the area was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. After discussing whether to restore and restart the golf course or close it permanently due to landslides and cracks in the ground caused by the earthquake, the company eventually decided to close it permanently.

This former golf course was then used as the mega solar plant project site. Solar power generation was a business that could be easily approached even in such a devastated area. Solar panels were arrayed in the areas that had previously been fairways, greens, parking lots, and so forth. The power generation facility was established making use of the forest land development permit Mori Trust had acquired when the site was a golf course.

The solar power plant consists of the first-phase site connected with a high-voltage grid, and the second-phase site connected with an extra-high-voltage grid. The first-phase site with an output of about 2MW started operation in August 2013, arraying roughly 10,000 solar panels on an area of two holes of the former golf course (See related article).

In the second-phase site with an output of about 8MW, approximately 32,000 panels were arrayed across the remaining 16 holes, excluding parts of three holes that were unsuited for solar panel installation due to sharp slopes and being shaded for many hours, and for other reasons.

At both sites, Kinden Corp provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, while panels made by both Japanese and overseas manufacturers were used. The company explained it was to check them for future application in its urban building business.

On the other hand, all PV inverters at both sites are products of Japan's largest PV inverter manufacturer Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC).