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PV Plants Springing Up for Reconstruction of Fukushima

2013/10/17 15:54
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Mega-solar (large-scale photovoltaic (PV)) power plants are increasingly being constructed and starting operations in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, for the purpose of the reconstruction of the disaster-hit area.

The Soma Photovoltaic Power Plant, a mega-solar plant that has an output power of about 2MW and was funded by Fujita Corp, IHI Corp and Nakamura Civil Engineering Co Ltd, started operations in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, Oct 11, 2013. This project is one of the model projects for the effective use of the area.

The Soma Photovoltaic Power Plant was built in an unused area that measures about 6ha and is located in the Soma Central Industrial Park, which is owned by Soma City. This is part of the city's reconstruction plan for making use of areas unsuited for residential use and using them for the renewed city.

Some mega-solar power plants have already started operations in Fukushima Prefecture. But most of them are located on, for example, the sites of manufacturing plants that are run by companies such as Japan Metals & Chemicals Co Ltd, GS Yuasa Corp and Lixil Corp. The start-up of the Soma Photovoltaic Power Plant means that a mega-solar plant has finally started operations on the initiative of a local government for the purpose of the reconstruction of the disaster-hit area.

The largest mega-solar project for the purpose of the reconstruction is being pursued by an alliance of Minamisoma City (Fukushima Prefecture) and Toshiba Corp. They plan to build mega-solar plants whose capacities amount to about 100MW in the tsunami-struck coastal area, which measures about 150ha.

Minamisoma City announced the progress status of its reconstruction plan in September 2013. To transfer the ownerships of the sites for the mega-solar plants, the alliance is now making adjustments with (1) projects to promote the relocation of people living in areas unsuited for residential use, (2) projects for land improvement and (3) other entities trying to purchase the area solely.

According to the city's data, 47% of the plan has been fulfilled. The selection and acquisition of sites for the plants are scheduled to be completed in fiscal 2014.