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First Solar to Build 60MW Solar Plant in Hokuriku Region of Japan

2016/09/25 18:21
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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A ceremony to sign a contract between JX Engineering and First Solar Japan (source: JX Engineering)

First Solar Inc will build a solar power plant with an output of about 60MW in an area including part of Hodatsushimizu-cho, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

First Solar Japan GK (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), a Japanese subsidiary of First Solar, leads the development of the mega (large-scale) solar power plant, which will start to be constructed in 2016 and will be completed in the second half of 2018.

First Solar Japan concluded a contract on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services with JX Engineering Corp (Yokohama City) Aug 26, 2016. The plant, "Ishikawa Sougou Solar Power Plant," will be built on a former golf course that straddles the border between Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures. In Toyama Prefecture, the plant is located in Takaoka City.

The plant will transmit 59.5MW of electricity to a power grid and be the largest-scale solar power plant in the Hokuriku region of Japan. It will generate about 78,800,000kWh (78.8GWh) of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 17,500 households, per year. All the electricity will be sold to Hokuriku Electric Power Co Inc.

For the plant, First Solar provides CdTe (cadmium telluride)-type compound semiconductor solar panels as well as O&M (operation and maintenance) services after completion. It will establish "First Solar Operation Center" in Tokyo in 2016 to enhance its O&M services in Japan.

JX Engineering received an order for all the construction services for the project. And this is the largest order that the company has received for a mega-solar project in terms of the amount of money. JX Engineering plans to proactively use new technologies such as 1,500V PV inverters in the aim of improving efficiency and reducing construction costs as well as to design a plant with enough consideration of natural disasters, it said.

Looop Inc (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo) also announced that it will introduce 1,500V PV inverters for its solar power plant to be built in Ibaraki Prefecture. But Ishikawa Sougou Solar Power Plant will probably be Japan's first solar power plant that uses 1,500V PV inverters and is large enough to be connected to an extra-high voltage power transmission line.

First Solar is not only a major solar panel manufacturer but also one of the companies that have the largest amount of experience in the development of mega solar plants in the world. It has already started to operate eight solar power plants (total output: about 10MW) in the Hokuriku, Kanto and Tohoku regions of Japan and is developing six projects including Ishikawa Sougou Solar Power Plant.