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Sumitomo Forestry Starts Solar Power Generation Using Wooden Mounting System

2013/11/07 17:40
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Sumitomo Forestry Co Ltd built a solar power plant on a site that had been left unused in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, and started operation of the plant Nov 6, 2013.

The plant, "Sumitomo Forestry Kashima Solar Power Plant," is the Sumitomo Forestry group's first solar power plant. And it uses a wooden mounting system.

The power plant was built on idled land adjoining the Kashima Plant of Sumitomo Forestry Crest Co Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Forestry and manufactures and sells materials related to wood-based residential houses and household equipment.

The output power of the solar power plant is 876kW. Its solar panel and PV inverter are provided by Canadian Solar Inc and Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC), respectively.

As part of the mounting system for solar panels, a wooden mounting system that was planned, designed and constructed by Sumitomo Forestry was employed. The employment of the mounting system is part of the company's efforts to promote the use of wooden materials.

This time, Sumitomo Forestry used commonly-available materials, especially materials made of Japanese cedar grown in Japan. The wooden mounting system has a simple structure and a framework that meets necessary strength requirements. In addition, it is possible to design the mounting system in accordance with site conditions by performing structural calculations for each facility.

The Mocca (wood use integration) Department of Sumitomo Forestry plans to commercialize the wooden mounting system by using the procurement ability of its timber and building materials business in view of the efficient use of locally-produced materials.

Sumitomo Forestry formed the "Environment/Energy Group" in its Forestry & Environment Headquarters in April 2013 in the aim of launching a renewable energy-related business. Because its solar power generation business is expected to produce long-term, stable profits, the company considered it as the second most important environment/energy-related business after its biomass-based power generation business.

For the future, Sumitomo Forestry is considering using the Sumitomo Forestry group's unused lands and proposing facilities by using the know-how accumulated through its forestry and greenery businesses.