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Abandoned Farmland Serves as Solar Site (page 2)

Amount of power generation boosted by overload, CIS solar cells

2013/12/07 23:31
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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CIS solar cell, TMEIC PV inverter deployed

"Should the conversion of an agricultural site be approved, there would be good potential in leasing abandoned tea and tangerine plantations to solar power plant operators and making use of them," President Sakaguchi said.

Kiyoshi Kondo, chief of the Business Location Promotion Div, Commerce, Industry and Labor Dept, Kagawa Prefecture, commented on such a view.

"It costs a lot to develop the abandoned farms in Kagawa Prefecture, as most of them are located on mountain slopes," he said. "In addition, Kagawa has a number of challenges other than the conversion of land categories to satisfy the requirements for business profitability. For example, the plant operator has to negotiate with multiple landowners to start a large-scale power generation business, as many farmers are small-sized in Kagawa."

Orix Mitoyo Mega-Solar Power Plant, where a site as large as 34,000m2 had already been developed and held by one owner, might be one of the few optimum spots in Kagawa Prefecture, where only a few sites are suited to large-scale solar power plants.

Kagawa Prefecture is one of the sunniest regions in Japan and suited to solar power generation, yet has few sites to construct a 10MW-class solar power plant due to its mountainous terrain. The prefecture has thus far recognized 61 solar power plants with output of 500kW or larger, which totals approximately 80MW, primarily 1 to 2MW per plant.

The plant's EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor was Takenaka Corp. This was Takenaka's first EPC contract in the Shikoku region. The plant adopted CIS solar cells manufactured by Solar Frontier KK (Fig. 3) and PV inverters manufactured by Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) (Fig. 4). Its reliability increased by forming a system with domestic facilities that have been broadly employed across Japan.

Given the firm, flat ground, the plant deployed a mounting system with concrete foundations that is wind resistant because of the weight of the solar panels and the concrete (Fig. 5). Partly reflecting a request by Mitoyo City, which was involved in the site selection, an observation deck to view the entire solar power plant was set up.

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