Visit to Plant

Solar Tracking System Adopted as Measure Against Lower FIT Rate

Power generation expected to increase by 35%

2017/10/18 17:40
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Sodegaura City is located roughly in the center of Chiba Prefecture and faces Tokyo Bay. The "Chiba Prefecture Sodegaura City Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with an output of about 1.3MW, is situated in the inland part of the city (Fig.1). An agricultural zone spreads around it.

Fig. 1: The Chiba Prefecture Sodegaura City Power Plant with an output of about 1.3MW is situated next to a cow farm (bottom). (source: Nikkei BP)

Tamagawa Holdings Co Ltd developed and operates the power plant. It is a holding company led by Tamagawa Electronics Co Ltd (Ayase City, Kanagawa Prefecture), which deals in high-frequency and other wireless communication components. Tamagawa Holdings is also involved in renewable energy such as solar, small-scale wind and geothermal power generation.

According to Toru Masuzawa, president of Tamagawa Holdings, the company just started its renewable energy power generation business as part of its diversification efforts with the aim of stabilizing management, which was temporarily facing a crisis.

The solar power plants that the Tamagawa Holdings Group developed could be divided into those that the group continues to operate by itself and those sold to power producers outside the group.

The group's power plants that have started operations or are now under construction total 17.5MW at eight locations. Meanwhile, the projects which have been sold to external power producers after completion total 14.3MW at 22 locations.

Including the projects sold off, Tamagawa Holdings has provided operation and maintenance (O&M) services at many projects that it developed by itself. The company is reportedly planning to extend its O&M services to the power plants developed by companies other than those in its own group.

Tamagawa Holdings is exploring a way to realize relatively more investment income by adopting a tracking-type system and boosting the amount of power generated per unit area, even at projects where the power selling rate is relatively low, based on the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.

According to the company, by adopting tracking-type systems, it could probably construct more solar power plants that can secure an internal rate of return (IRR) of 10% or more.

In the same manner, Tamagawa Holdings is planning to proactively develop renewable energy-based power plants, promoting small-scale wind and geothermal power generation.