Visit to Plant

111MW Solar Plant Under Construction in Hokkaido

'The town's pride and joy' power plant run in collaboration with the local community

2015/10/08 20:16
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Abiracho in the southwest of Hokkaido is a hilly area leading from the Yufutsu Plain to the Yubari Mountains, where the amount of snow cover is relatively low despite the severe cold in winter. The town is conveniently located about a one-hour drive from Sapporo and a 20-minute drive from New Chitose Airport, with large-scale development areas including the Tomakomai Eastern Industrial Park spreading to the south.

Leveraging such a great location, Abiracho is approaching the revitalization of the local community, inviting enterprises and proactively recruiting farmers and migrants. In the section called "Minnade PR Abiracho" on its website, Abiracho posts "town's pride and joy" reports written during the integrated learning classes by fifth- and sixth-grade students of the local Toasa Elementary School, introducing characteristic institutions, facilities and plants in the town.

One of the reports posted this spring highlighted the "SB Energy Solar Power Plant."

"About how many employees do you think are working at the plant?" The report began with this question and explained the solar power plant with illustrations and photos.

"This plant is planning to generate electricity using sunlight and sell generated power to Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc. The plant is now under construction with solar panels being set up." "Power is generated by 440,000 panels. The total area of the panels is about 35 times larger than Tokyo Dome and about 30 times bigger than Sapporo Dome. The plant can generate power equivalent to seven years of consumption in Abiracho (4,300 households) every year." After such explanations came the answer to the question at the beginning; "400 to 500 employees work there."

The "town's pride and joy" mega (large-scale) solar power plant is the "SoftBank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park" (Fig. 1). The power plant is run by "Tomatoh Abira Solar Park," a joint venture (JV) formed by SB Energy Corp (Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Mitsui & Co. The site is about 166ha, and the capacity of the installed solar panels totals roughly 111MW.

Fig. 1: Aerial view of the "SoftBank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park" (source: Toshiba)