A storage battery installed for a mega solar power plant in Shiriuchi-cho, Hokkaido (source: Nikkei BP)
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Looop Inc (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo) and Green Power Development Corporation of Japan (GPD) (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) announced Oct 26, 2017, that they will build and operate a mega (large-scale) solar power plant with a storage battery in Nakashibetsu-cho, Hokkaido, Japan.

They will start construction of the plant, "Looop Nakashibetsu Solar Power Plant," in October 2017, aiming to start operation in September 2019.

The total output of solar panels to be installed at the plant is 31.6MW, and the plant is expected to generate about 30,000,000kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 6,100 households, per year. All the electricity generated at the plant will be sold to Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc (HEPCO) at a price of ¥40/kWh.

The power producer of the plant is Nakashibetsu Solar LLC, which is jointly invested in by Looop and GPD and will build and run the plant. Nippon Comsys Corp provides EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services for the plant. The plant will be Looop's first solar power plant connected to an extra-high-voltage power transmission line.

The project fund is raised through project financing. The syndicate loan is participated in by The Hokkaido Bank Ltd (local financial institution), etc, and the lead manager is The Hiroshima Bank Ltd.

About 107,000 solar panels manufactured by JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd will be set up on the site of the former "Shiretoko Golf Club Nakashibetsu Course" (area: about 994,000m2), which was closed in December 2016. The total rated output of PV inverters will be 20MW. They will be supplied by Fuji Electric Co Ltd.

As a measure against short-period output fluctuations, a storage battery with a capacity of 6.594MWh was installed. The battery system is a product of LG Chem Ltd. The introduction of the battery was not subsidized. The power conditioners for the battery have an output of 16.5MW.

In Hokkaido, there is an increasing number of mega solar projects in which a large-size battery is installed as a measure against short-period output fluctuations such as projects in Shiriuchi-cho and Abira-cho (See related article).