Visit to Plant

Minimum Operation of 30 Years Aimed for at Solar Plant in Miyagi

'Building restriction' lies behind rapid increase of solar plants

2018/09/11 10:00
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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The "Kamiayashi Mega Solar Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with an output of about 1.2MW, is located in Kamiayashi, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, an area that still has many villages rich in nature (Fig. 1). It has been nearly one year since the plant started operation and selling power in September 2017.

Fig. 1: Kamiayashi Mega Solar Power Plant with an output of about 1.2MW constructed and run by Konno Kensetsu (source: Nikkei BP)

The power producer is Konno Kensetsu, based in Koizumi, Muratacho, Shibata-gun in southern Miyagi Prefecture. Konno Kensetsu is engaged in civil engineering and construction as well as industrial waste treatment. Utilizing its own property, the company constructed and runs this mega-solar plant.

Kamiayashi and the neighboring areas have many villages that have been kept almost untouched. Although large-scale housing development is being undertaken in part of Kamiayashi, it is a region long known for having strict regulations on land use, with not only land reclamation but also building construction restricted in many areas.

What has been increasing recently in Kamiayashi and the neighboring areas is solar power plant development. Konno Kensetsu's is one such mega-solar plant.

Having applied for development based on Sendai City's "Land Use Adjustment Restrictions to Protect Landscape of Mori No Miyako," Konno Kensetsu signed an agreement with the city and started to set up a solar power generation facility in Kamiayashi.

This restriction was formulated primarily with a view to protecting the forests and landscape that remain in western Sendai City (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Land use policies and categories by "Land Use Adjustment Restrictions to Protect Landscape of Mori No Miyako" (source: Sendai City)

Of the projects that have been developed thus far based on this restriction, those involving large-scale land reclamation and building construction have been limited to public facilities and social infrastructure, namely schools, nursing homes, transportation facilities, telecom infrastructure and waste disposal sites.

Most other projects are solar power plants. Although the power generation facilities to be set up at solar power plants are "electric workpieces," they do not correspond to "buildings" under Japan's Building Standards Act as long as they are less than 4m above ground. This project in Kamiayashi meets the restrictions imposed on the region, which also include no large-scale land reclamation or building construction.