Visit to Plant

Coal Mining Area Shaped Into Solar Town (page 2)

Output lowered due to restriction by 'bank reverse power flow'

2013/11/25 13:47
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Two meetings for local residents in summer, winter

SB Energy, which had been in talks with Tetsugen from a relatively early stage, rented part (about 35,000m2) of the land in Takesaki District from Tetsugen and constructed the large-scale solar power plant. When choosing an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, SB Energy examined proposals from several companies before finally choosing Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

"Mitsubishi was most attractive from an all-round perspective including not only cost but also facility performance," said Ippei Yuki, general manager, Engineering Department, SB Energy.

Deploying a single crystal silicon solar panel manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric and a PV inverter manufactured by Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC), its proposal was highly reliable. Operation and maintenance after completion is also carried out by Mitsubishi Electric in cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric Plant Engineering Corp.

Mitsubishi Electric also constructed the mounting systems. It intentionally did not make the slightly rough land surface even, setting the height of the mounted panels horizontal instead by arranging the length of the mounting system’s legs. There was also concern about corrosion caused by salty wind along the shore.

"Having undertaken in-depth discussions, we applied measures against salt damage," Yuki said.

As for the solar panels, a highly weatherproof type was selected. TMEIC’s PV inverters are highly resistant to salt damage because they are housed in a tightly sealed chassis and air-conditioned to block outside air. However, part of the peripheral facilities including voltage inverters are exposed to the outside air. So, they are all housed in filters to prevent salt damage.

SB Energy provided explanatory meetings for the local residents while working out the details of the project. Located near a residential area, Takesaki District, which runs alongside a road, can be seen by the residents. Based on these circumstances, SB Energy first explained the project outline during the Koyagimachi residents’ association meeting in summer 2012. In winter, when the details of the project were determined, SB Energy held another meeting directly calling for participation of the residents, instead of exploiting a community meeting.

"Other large-scale solar power plants also have meetings for local residents in tandem with local government and residents’ associations," said Shunichi Ojima, general manager, Regional Liaison Department, Domestic Business Division, SB Energy. "In the case of Koyagimachi, after having discussions with the residents’ association, we decided to hold two meetings so more residents could join."

At the meetings, the company explained that the solar panels would not reflect the sun onto the houses as they would be installed to face the sea and that the company would regularly undertake weeding, instead of using herbicide, to prevent weeds. According to SB Energy, no objections were raised by the participants.

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