After turning to the east from Route 140 about a 10-minute drive from Seibu Chichibu Station in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, orderly arrayed black solar panels will come into view beyond a residential area on top of a steep slope.
It is the "Chichibu 1.0MW Solar Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant constructed by Italy-based solar power generation development company Hergo Sun Japan KK (Minato-ku, Tokyo). It started operation in February 2016 (See related article).
Chichibu City called for a proposal from power producers in 2012 in the scheme that Chichibu City rents property from the prefecture and individuals and rents the property combined with municipal property to a private mega-solar power producer. Out of two applicants, Hergo Sun Japan was selected (Fig. 1).
Kyocera Communication Systems Co Ltd provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, setting up 4,564 solar panels manufactured by Kyocera Corp. PV inverters of Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) were also adopted.
About one and a half years have passed since the operation began. The state of power generation has been sound, making an upswing of about 20% to 1,539,100kWh in the first year (from April 2016 to March 2017) compared with the annual estimate of 1,284,000kWh (Fig. 2).