235MW Solar Plant Completed on Former Salt Field in Okayama

2018/11/14 15:53
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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The ceremony to celebrate the completion of the plant (source: Nikkei BP)
The 235MW solar power plant seen from "Ushimado Olive Garden" (source: Nikkei BP)
Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy supplied solar panels while TMEIC and GE provided PV inverters. (source: Nikkei BP)

The "Setouchi Kirei Solar Power Plant," which was being built in the former Kinkai Salt Farm in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, was completed, and a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the plant took place Nov 9, 2018.

The total capacity of solar panels installed at the plant is about 235MW, and the plant transmits 186MW of electricity to a power grid. It is Japan's largest-scale solar power plant in operation in Japan.

The construction of the mega (large-scale) solar power plant started in November 2014, and the plant began commercial operation Oct 1, 2018. Electricity generated at the plant is sold to The Chugoku Electric Power Co Inc at a price of ¥40/kWh based on the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme. At first, the plant was scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019, but it was completed about six months ahead of schedule.

The mega solar project for redeveloping the former Kinkai Salt Farm consists of (1) Japan's largest-class solar power generation project (core project), (2) "safety/security project" that strengthens measures against flood at the site of the former salt field and (3) "environmental preservation project" that preserves the ecosystem (including a wide variety of species) peculiar to salt marshes. The safety/security project and environmental preservation project were completed in March 2017.

The project is run by Setouchi Kirei Future Creation LLC, a special purpose company (SPC) financed by GE Energy Financial Services, Toyo Engineering Corp, Kuni Umi Asset Management Co Ltd and Chudenko Corp. The total project cost is about ¥110 billion (approx US$966 million), of which ¥90 billion was raised through loans.

A project financing loan was arranged and participated in by 28 financial institutions including three managing banks (The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, Mizuho Bank Ltd and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp).

For the plant, Toyo Engineering Corp and Shimizu Corp provided EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services. Trina Solar Ltd and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd supplied solar panels while Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) and General Electric Co (GE) set up 146 (output: 630kW each) and 94 (output: 1,000kW each) PV inverters, respectively.