Mima City, located inland in Tokushima Prefecture, is an area with a traditional country landscape, of mountains, a river and flat vegetable fields. The city also has the Yoshino River and the prefecture's highest mountain, Mt. Tsurugizan (1,955m above sea level).

Flanked by the Tokushima Expressway, which runs a little distant from but almost in parallel with the Yoshino River, is the "Mima Solar Valley," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a solar panel capacity of 1.189MW and a grid capacity of 1MW (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: The Mima Solar Valley surrounded by beautiful autumn leaves. Its solar panel capacity is 1.189MW, while its grid capacity is 1MW. (source: top Nikkei BP, bottom Gaia Power)

Gaia Power KK of the Fujisaki Electric Co Ltd Group (both in Anan City, Tokushima Prefecture) led the development and operation of this power plant, which started generating power about five years ago in December 2012.

This was the first mega-solar plant developed by Gaia Power, which has developed many solar power projects since then. As of today, it has started operating power plants in 19 locations.

The mega-solar plant in Mima City is a project in which many local enterprises and citizens are participating in a wide range of areas, from land to funds and operation.

As for land, the plant utilizes an idle site owned by a local general contractor, the Kitaokagumi Group (Mimacho, Mima City). The Kitaokagumi Group owns many plots of land in this area and operates factories for construction materials and other products around this mega-solar plant.

The Kitaokagumi Group provided this site as well as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services together with Gaia Power.

In the Kitaokagumi's adjoining site to the south of this mega-solar plant in Mima, the "Mikan Solar Valley" with an output of 1.328MW is being developed (Fig. 2). Gaia Power also partly financed the power producer and provided EPC services at this mega-solar plant.

Fig. 2: The Mikan Solar Valley in the southern adjoining site. The top photo was shot from the observatory in the mega-solar plant in Mima. Seen beyond the front four rows is the Mikan Solar Valley. In the bottom photo, the trapezoid plant along the Tokushima Expressway is the Mima Solar Valley, beneath which is the Mikan Solar Valley. (source: top Nikkei BP, bottom Gaia Power)