Visit to Plant

Sharp Contrast in Solar Power Generation Amounts on 2 Islands

Panels inspected on-site

2019/07/19 23:03
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Ukishima and Ohgishima in the corner of the Keihin Industrial Zone are both landfill islands facing the sea and belong to Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. On these islands, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (hereinafter TEPCO HD) developed and runs two mega- (large-scale) solar power plants with a total output of 20.0MW: "Ukishima Solar Power Plant" and "Ohgishima Solar Power Plant" with an output of 7.0MW and 13.0MW, respectively (Fig. 1). It has been more than seven years since they began operation in August and December 2011, respectively.

Fig. 1: Mega-solar plants on Ukishima (top photo) and Ohgishima (bottom photos) (source: Kawasaki City, bottom left TEPCO HD)

The Japanese power suppliers formerly categorized as General Electric Utilities constructed mega-solar power plants in their own coverage areas fully subsidized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry just before the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme was implemented. The Ukishima Solar Power Plant and the Ohgishima Solar Power Plant were the largest class among those constructed in that way and the first to begin operation among the extra-high-voltage-class solar plants.

The solar plant on Ukishima is adjacent to a PR and educational facility that focuses on three themes: global warming, renewable energy and resource circulation. It is a joint project unique to such an industrial city where power consumption and CO2 emission are high, and from that perspective, its location can be regarded as perfect. The plant is easily accessible from the metropolitan area and faces Haneda Airport across the sea. The mega-solar plant can be seen from an airplane immediately after taking off or just before landing (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Airplanes taking off from and landing at Haneda Airport seen from solar plant (top Nikkei BP, bottom Kawasaki City)

The Ukishima Solar Power Plant was constructed on landfill of refuse incineration ash. Kawasaki City proposed a mega-solar plant to Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc (present TEPCO HD) as an effective use of the site for the 20 years required to purify the site after landfill was completed, and as a result, it became a mega-solar site.

According to Kawasaki City, building construction is restricted on this site until it is purified under the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Act of Japan, so a solar power plant which does not correspond to a "building" was an ideal way to utilize the site (Related article: Solar Power Plant Designed for Coastal Industrial Zone).

The Ukishima Solar Power Plant became TEPCO HD's first mega-solar plant among its power supply facilities. It can also be referred to as a pioneer of so-called "waste disposal solar," which municipalities in various regions started developing on former waste disposal sites following the implementation of the FIT scheme.