79MW Solar Plant Achieves Utilization Rate of 17.6% in Tohoku
2x areal efficiency, 1.6x overloading by setting up more than 1MW per 1ha
'Watari Lion Dance' performed to celebrate completion
Located about 26km to the south of Sendai and facing the Pacific Ocean where the Kuroshio Current flows, Wataricho in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, is warm in winter and cool in summer. "Watari" is said to come from "passing over (wataru)" a river because the town is situated on the south bank of the Abukuma River. The town boasts fruit farming reflecting the mild climate and produces the most strawberries, in particular, in the Tohoku region.
On April 25, 2019, the completion ceremony of the "Watari Solar Power Plant," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with an output of roughly 80MW, took place in the town. A total of about 300,000 solar panels were set up across the approximately 75ha site on the coast, which was struck by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake (Fig. 1).
The solar panel capacity and the rated capacity of PV inverters total 79.548MW and 49.3MW, respectively, and they are the largest class among the mega-solar plants that are under construction or in operation along the tsunami-affected coast. Yamasa KK (Niimi City, Okayama Prefecture), a company engaged in developing and marketing amusement machines and airplane/vessel leasing, constructed the power plant and runs the power selling business using the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
Along with guests including Hironobu Yamada, town mayor of Wataricho, and Shinya Endo, vice governor of Miyagi Prefecture, about 70 people related to Yamasa, the contractor and the town government participated in the ceremony. The town's traditional "Watari Lion Dance," which is reminiscent of the days of the town as the home of the Watari Date family, was performed (Fig. 2).