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Sheep, Silo Give Bucolic Atmosphere to Solar Plant (page 3)

16MW power plant built on undulating golf course

2014/01/26 03:41
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Efforts to keep development, construction costs low

Although many trees were cut down to convert the golf course into a mega solar power plant, the land's properties such as typical golf course undulations and ponds were almost unchanged. This was because the redevelopment costs were taken into consideration. Trees were only cut down because the amount of power generation would lower should the trees shade the panels in accordance with their position to the panels.

Because the lack of foundation work left the undulations, some solar panels are tilted at different angles depending on the slopes. But most of the panels of the plant are directly facing south and tilted at 10° when installed (Fig. 6).

Because of the undulating land, construction efficiency would decline with mounting systems that use concrete foundations. To lower the cost, the plant deployed a "stake-driving-type" mounting system, which allows constructors to dig a hole in the ground and directly drive a stake into it when installing the system.

Takenaka Corp designed and constructed the plant. The suppliers of the solar panels, PV inverters, mounting system and other facilities have not been revealed. Operation and management is being entrusted to Nikke's subsidiary Nikke Machine Manufacturing Corp.

PV inverters in solid airtight concrete shed

What is eye-catching in terms of the facilities is the housing of PV inverters in a solid concrete shed (Fig. 7). PV inverters contained in metal housings are often seen at many mega solar power plants, but Nikke contained them in a concrete shed.

"Some questioned whether such a fort-like shed was really needed, but we were prudent in preparing a concrete shed in view of heat and dust impacts," said Manager Masakazu Kimura of the Real Estate Section, Area Development Department, Human and Future Development Division, Nikke. "We were proved right after all, I believe."

In the 11.035MW capacity Phase 1, the solar panels were installed in five blocks with PV inverters into which the generated electricity is input.

Also, to proactively accept visitors including local residents, a 6m-wide lane and an observation deck were set up along the perimeter on the east and south sides. The lane was made wide enough for a bus to run along.