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Disaster-hit Golf Course Redeveloped as Solar Plant (page 2)

Expertise in mega-solar power plant to be applied to urban building business

2014/02/01 21:02
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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The 8MW-capacity Phase 2 solar power generation system will cover almost every available part of the remaining area of the golf course. It has not been determined when Phase 2 area will start selling electricity. The expected amount of power generation is about 9,200,000kWh per annum, which corresponds to the annual power consumption of 2,800 average families.

The output of the Phase 1 area was set at 2MW because it was the maximum amount that could be transmitted through the existing overhead high-tension power transmission line of the golf course almost as it is. As for the 8MW output of the Phase 2 area, the generated power cannot be sold until Tohoku Electric Power establishes extra-high-tension power transmission lines. As extra-high-tension power transmission lines have not been established around the golf course, which is in the mountains, the lines will have to run for a long distance.

Installation cost reduction, measures against snow cover

The Phase 1 solar power generation system with 2MW output was set up at the former holes No. 6 and No. 7. As these holes stretch east to west, many of the solar panels can be set up facing south, which is the best direction for solar power generation. In addition, the extra cost required for installation is small, and the holes are located near the high-voltage lines.

In an effort to lower the installation cost, as many of the trees as possible were left in the former golf course to save on the costs involved in cutting them down (Fig. 3 & 4). The deployment of an installation method that requires neither a concrete foundation nor the flattening of the ground also helped to lower the installation cost.

To maximize the amount of power generation while keeping as many trees as possible, the panels were arranged so the trees would not shade them. The mounting system is held with concrete stakes that require no foundation. By arranging the height of the mounting systems, the solar panels face south regardless of the golf course's undulations.

Although Nishi-Shirakawa-gun in Fukushima Prefecture is not a heavy snowfall area, measures against snow cover were still needed assuming the annual maximum depth of snow cover (15cm). Most solar panels that are generating power can become as warm as about 25°C when the ambient temperature is 5°C. Therefore, though a little snow may have accumulated on the surface, the snow should melt after the sun comes out. The measures were considered in case the snow still did not completely melt.

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