Visit to Plant

Solar Plant Designed With Consideration for Residential Areas

Green solar power plant on former factory site

2014/01/12 15:06
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
Print Page

"Yomeishu" is an alcoholic beverage for medicinal purposes well known by people throughout Japan. "Tsurugashima Solar Power Plant" (Fig. 1) is the mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plant run by Yomeishu Seizo Co Ltd, the manufacturer of this beverage. The output of the mega-solar power plant is approximately 1.9MW.

The mega-solar power plant was constructed where Yomeishu Seizo's former Saitama Factory had been operating from 1961 to 2006. The raw materials of "Yomeishu", including grape sugar, were produced at the factory. Inside the site were the raw material factory, corporate dormitory and a baseball ground. As the production of grape sugar was contracted outside, Yomeishu Seizo closed the factory and cleared the land in 2007, since when it has sought an effective use for the site.

However, the company had a challenge to tackle before starting to effectively utilize the site. The surrounding environment had completely changed compared with the time when the former Saitama Factory had started operation. The surrounding landscape, which was once farmland, had transformed into residential areas.

Accordingly, a plant that would cause smells and noises in the neighboring residential areas could not be constructed. Moreover, the roads around the site were not as wide as they were in the industrial zone. Given these conditions, it was difficult to find any company that would wish to build a new plant there.

Under such circumstances, Yomeishu Seizo accepted a mega-solar power plant construction proposal from Takenaka Corp and started discussing its own entry into the industry as the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme for reusable energy was set to begin. A mega-solar power plant would cause few smells and noise in the neighboring residential areas. Excluding the construction period, there would be little traffic involving large trucks, etc.

In addition, the power selling business based on solar power generation, a reusable energy, could complement Yomeishu Seizo's corporate philosophy: "Contribute to enriching healthy lifestyles." The company, as a result, changed its articles of incorporation and decided to enter the power industry.

(Continue to the next page)