Visit to Plant

City Directly Runs Solar Plant to Maximize Profit

2.1MW solar plant built on reclaimed land in Chiba Prefecture

2016/09/11 18:28
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Katori City is located about 15km from Narita Airport in the northeast of Chiba Prefecture. It was established by merging the former Sawara City, Kurimotomachi, Omigawamachi and Yamadamachi in 2006. Sawara is known for its rivers and once prospered thanks to water transportation. The Tone River stretches from east to west in the north, where rice paddies are widely spread.

Sand from liquefaction spread across the site

Fig. 1: "Katori City Yodaura Solar Power Plant" directly run by Katori City (source: Nikkei BP)

Fig. 2: Set up on reclaimed ground, the site was partially flooded with groundwater. (source: Nikkei BP)

The "Katori City Yodaura Solar Power Plant" with an output of about 2MW is situated in the center of such a rice paddy area (Fig. 1). The nearby Yodaura is a lake, which was created in a sand bank as a result of the Tone River's sedimentation. In fact, the site of the solar power plant had previously been part of this lake, which was reclaimed in a prefectural' reclamation project.

Although the site had been allotted as municipal property following the reclamation-based land improvement project, it was reportedly left unused, with no buildings constructed on this soft terrain, which is surrounded by rice paddies. As you enter the power plant site, you can find a trace of the former lake, with about half the site flooded with groundwater (Fig. 2).

The Great East Japan Earthquake greatly affected the construction of this power plant. As you look at the ground inside the power plant, the dry half is covered by sand.

This sand in the urban zone and other areas was a result of the liquefaction caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Some of the sand removed in the restoration work was transported. By doing so, it became possible to kill two birds with one stone by disposing of the large amount of sand resulting from the liquefaction and filling in the ground of the power plant site at the same time.