Nishiyama Sakata Denki Co Ltd, a Japan-based firm specialized in electrical system design, started operation of a 1.25MW mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plant using double-sided (bifacial) solar panels Nov 29, 2013.
The plant is named "Asahikawa Hokuto Solar Power Plant." One side of the panel uses sunlight to generate electricity while the other side uses light reflected from snow. As a result, the total amount of electricity generated can be increased. Also, the company will perform field tests of a "stand-alone snow melting system" using the bifacial solar panels.
In December 2012, the government of Asahikawa City selected Nishiyama Sakata Denki (Asahikawa City), which proposed the construction of the mega-solar plant, as a developer for the site of the former ground of Hokkaido Asahikawa Hokuto Commercial High School. The company started the construction in May 2013.
In snowy regions, snow accumulated on solar panels generally lowers the amount of electricity generated with sunlight. For Asahikawa Hokuto Solar Power Plant, Nishiyama Sakata Denki used 5,320 solar panels using the "EarthON" bifacial solar cell, which takes in light from both sides of the cell to generate electricity, in the aim of increasing the amount of electricity generated by using light reflected from snow.
The cell was developed by PVG Solutions Inc (Yokohama City). The plant is the world's first megawatt-class power plant that is equipped with bifacial solar panels, Nishiyama Sakata Denki said.
Along with the operation of the solar power plant, Kurarayliving Co Ltd (Osaka City), PVG Solutions, Nishiyama Sakata Denki and the government of Hokkaido will cooperate to conduct the "Operation Test of Stand-alone Snow Melting System Directly Using Power Generated With Bifacial Solar Cells." They will test the stand-alone snow melting system by using electricity supplied directly from the bifacial solar panels.
With local solar power generation facilities, the system can be used without an external power source. It is equipped with a snow melting mat using a fabric heater made of carbon nanotube-coated conductive fibers. It was developed by Kurarayliving.