Visit to Plant

Suburban Solar Plant Shows Consideration for Locals (page 3)

'Eco farm' run using part of revenues from power selling business

2014/02/18 17:55
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Generally, it is not easy to convert land categorized as farmland held by many landowners to hybrid and other categories. In the case of Matsuyama district in Higashimatsuyama City, however, in light of the difficulty of using the land for agriculture, the land category was quickly converted, with comprehensive assistance from the prefecture and the city, after construction of the large-scale solar power plant was proposed.

Ahead of the plant’s construction, the land's temporary use for industrial waste disposal became a challenge in terms of civil engineering work. Given the buried industrial waste, the land could not be dug deeper than 50cm, and full-fledged ground leveling was also difficult.

Based on these circumstances, a method that connects the foundations of the stakes under the soil using concrete was adopted when installing the mounting systems (Fig. 5). Leaving the undulations of the ground as they were, the panels were set up at the same height by varying the height of the concrete foundations.

As for the PV inverter, a TMEIC product boasting high conversion efficiency was adopted. But the plant purchased, remodeled and substituted second-hand containers for standard housing structures in a proprietary way (Fig. 7).

Amount of power generation exceeds estimates by 20%

"Thus far, the amount of power generation has surpassed the estimates by about 20%," Kihara said.

Should the efficiency of an overall system including PV inverters be conspicuously high, the amount of power generation could exceed estimates made based on the solar panel's power generation capacity.

"We would like to analyze the factors behind the upswing in the amount of power generation," Kihara said. "But it is possible that the power generation loss was diminished by the wind blowing through the area that prevents the panel temperature from rising."

In early August 2013, a schoolboy and his mother came to visit the power plant just before it was completed. The schoolboy said he wanted to study the large-scale power plant as the subject of independent research during his summer vacation. Despite being busy, Manager Kihara helped them, explaining as much as they needed.

"It was one of the greatest pleasures I had through the construction of a large-scale power plant," he said. "Should children, who will lead the next generation, become interested in solar power generation, even a bit, a mega-solar power plant in an urban zone can fulfill its duty."

The Higashimatsuyama Kagayaki Power Plant seems to be demonstrating how things should be for large-scale solar power plants.