JRE Completes 14MW Solar Plant in Niigata

Solar Frontier's solar panel, TMEIC's PV inverter

2016/09/02 14:00
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Niigata Umibe-no-mori Solar Park has an output of 14.224MW. (source: JRE)

Japan Renewable Energy (JRE) Co Ltd announced Aug 23, 2016, that a solar power plant with an output of about 14MW has been completed in Niigata Prefecture, Japan.

The mega (large-scale) solar power plant, "Niigata Umibe-no-mori Solar Park," started operations Aug 19, 2016, and a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the plant took place Aug 31, 2016. It is the second largest-scale solar power plant in Niigata Prefecture after "Niigata East Solar Power Plant 3 Series," a solar power plant with an output of about 15MW in Agano City (See related article 1, 2).

JRE (Minato-ku, Tokyo) is a power producer for renewable energy-based power plants and a subsidiary of a joint venture between The Goldman Sachs Group Inc and MA Platform Inc (Minato-ku, Tokyo), which was established by Akira Mori, president of Mori Trust Holdings Inc. It runs 22 solar power plants and one wind power plant in Japan.

The power producer for Niigata Umibe-no-mori Solar Park is Niigata Shimami Solar Park LLC (Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture), which is an SPC (special purpose company) jointly established by JRE and Kitac Corp (a construction consultancy company based in Niigata City).

The plant was built on about 16ha of land in Shimami-cho, Kita-ku, Niigata City. The land consists of publicly- and privately-owned areas. The public area was scheduled to be used as substitute agricultural land after the planned emigration of residents of a district of Kita-ku. However, the emigration was not realized. The prefecture leased the area through an open call for proposals in 2013, and it became a site for the mega solar plant.

On the other hand, the process of renting the private area was delayed, pushing back the start of operation from February 2015 to August 2016.

The plant is expected to generate about 16,000,000kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 4,400 households, per year. All the electricity generated at the plant is sold to Tohoku-Electric Power Co Inc at a price of ¥36/kWh (excluding tax).

At the plant, 86,208 solar panels manufactured by Solar Frontier KK were set up. Because the plant is located in a coastal area, the steel material of the mounting system was zinc-plated to prevent salt damage. The installation angle of the panels is 20° in consideration of both power generation efficiency and snow cover, JRE said.

The PV inverter employed for the plant is a product of Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC).