111MW Solar Plant Begins Operation in Hokkaido

2015/12/08 15:25
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Softbank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park in operation (source: Nikkei BP)
The ceremony to celebrate the start-up of the solar power plant (source: Nikkei BP)

A ceremony to celebrate the start-up of "Softbank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park" took place in Abira-cho, Yufutsu-gun, Hokkaido, Dec 6, 2015.

The total capacity of solar panels installed at the mega (large-scale) solar power plant is about 111MW, and 79MW of electricity is transmitted to the power grid. It is currently the second largest-scale solar power plant in operation in Japan.

However, at the current largest-scale solar power plant, "Eurus Rokkasho Solar Park" (solar panel capacity: 148MW, grid connection capacity: 115MW) in Rokkasho-mura, Aomori Prefecture, two power generation sites that are about 5km away from each other are connected at one connection point. Therefore, Softbank Tomatoh Abira Solar Park is the largest-scale single solar power generation site in Japan.

Tomatoh Abira Solar Park, the power producer for the plant, is a fifty-fifty joint venture (JV) between SB Energy Corp (Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Mitsui & Co Ltd. The JV rented about 1,660,000m2 of industrial land owned by Tomatoh Inc (Tomakomai City, Hokkaido), which engages in land development in the eastern region of Tomakomai, with a 20-year contract and built the solar power plant.

Abira-cho is known for racehorses including famous "Deep Impact." At the ceremony, a representative for Tomatoh Abira Solar Park said, "We will make the mega solar plant a symbol of Abira-cho like Deep Impact.

"The power generation capacity of solar panels allegedly decreases by less than 10% even after 30 years of use," said Hiroaki Fujii, vice president of SB Energy. "If possible, we want to continue the power generation business even after 20 years and supply low-priced electricity to the region."