Visit to Plant

Rooftop Solar Panels' Heat Barrier Effect Saves Energy

Orix runs solar business selling power at 24 yen/kWh at PFU facility

2017/11/20 16:42
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Unoke in Kahoku City, Ishikawa Prefecture, is located at the root of Noto Peninsula, about 30 minutes by JR Nanao Line from Kanazawa Station. In 1960, Unoke Electronics Industries was founded there by seven engineers. Later, the company joined the Fujitsu Group and continued to grow, changing its name to PFU Ltd in 1987.

Orix generates power on roof

PFU currently holds the world's largest share in the image scanner market, having established its unique positions in the markets for embedded computers and information KIOSK, for example. Logging sales of 130.6 billion yen in fiscal 2016, PFU grew into Ishikawa Prefecture's representative company, and has about 4,500 employees across its group.

In 2006, PFU opened "ProDeS Center" as its new development and manufacturing base, integrating its scattered plants. After the headquarters, it is PFU's second largest base, and is where about 750 employees work. In September 2017, Orix Corp constructed a solar power plant with an output of about 950kW and started selling power at this base (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Orix's "ProDeS Center Power Plant" set on the roof of PFU (source: Nikkei BP)

Orix rented space on the roof from PFU and installed 3,652 solar panels manufactured by Toshiba Corp. This is a so-called "rented-roof-style" solar power plant.

The PV inverters of Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) were set up beside the parking lot around the building, while the plant is connected with a high-voltage cable at a different grid point from the center's to transmit generated power. Using the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme, generated power is sold at 24 yen/kWh (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: PV inverters were set up on the side slope reclaimed beside the parking lot. (source: Nikkei BP)