The rechargeable battery installed for a mega solar plant in Shiriuchi-cho, Hokkaido (source: Nikkei BP)
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Tokyu Land Corp, Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co Ltd (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) and Green Power Development Corporation of Japan (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) announced Sept 5, 2017, that they will build a solar power plant (output: about 92MW) equipped with a large-size storage battery in Kushiro-cho, Hokkaido, Japan.

The mega (large-scale) solar power plant, "Suzuran Kushiro-cho Solar Power Plant (tentative name)," will start to be built in July 2017 and is scheduled to start operations in fiscal 2019. It will be built on about 1,632,000m2 (about 163ha) of idled land in Kushiro-cho. It is expected to generate about 105,500,000kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 21,300 households, in the first year.

The total capacity of solar panels to be installed at the plant is about 92MW, and a lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery with a capacity of about 25MWh will be set up on the premises of the plant. It is will be Japan's largest-capacity solar power plant equipped with a storage battery.

The storage battery will be installed based on the "technical requirements regarding measures to reduce the output fluctuation of solar power generation facilities," which Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc (HEPCO) announced in April 2015. It will be used to smooth the rapid output fluctuation of the mega solar plant (as measures against short-period fluctuations).

In the project, limitless/uncompensated output restriction is a condition for grid connection. It is the largest-scale solar project for which a project finance loan has been structured under the condition. The fund will be raised through a syndicated loan arranged by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.

The power producer of the plant is an SPC financed by Tokyu Land, Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance and Green Power Development Corporation of Japan. Tokyu Land Capital Management Inc (a subsidiary of Tokyu Land) and MUL Energy Investment Co Ltd (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance) are entrusted with asset management and financial advice, respectively.

Fuji Electric Co Ltd provides EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services.

In Hokkaido, there is an increasing number of mega solar projects for which large-size storage batteries are installed as measures against short-period fluctuations such as projects in Shiriuchi-cho and Abira-cho (See related article).