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Solar Plant in Kyoto Recovers From Typhoon Disaster

Cover plant reduces weeding frequency to once a year

2019/08/26 14:57
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Mega-solar development pioneer among co-operative societies

Osaka Izumi Co-operative Society based in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, is one of Japan's largest citizen's co-operative societies with a membership of about 526,000 households (as of the end of March 2018) and funds worth 91.7 billion yen (approx US$871 million, in fiscal 2017).

In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake, co-operative societies across Japan have embarked on setting up solar power generation facilities. Osaka Izumi Co-operative Society has been a pioneer among such societies.

The co-operative society has started operating rooftop mega- (large-scale) solar power plants at two locations on its own logistics facilities in Izumi City (Osaka Prefecture) and on-ground-type solar plants in Kameoka City (Kyoto Prefecture) and Tenri City (Nara Prefecture) with a total grid capacity of 10.75MW (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Techno Stage Logistics Center Solar Power Plant in Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture (source: Osaka Izumi Co-operative Society)

Kyoto site struck by Typhoon No. 21

This co-operative society releases the power generation amount to the public in each fiscal year. At the end of May 2019, it announced the monthly power generation in fiscal 2018 (from April 2018 to March 2019) to the public. According to the announcement, the power generation amount slightly decreased year-on-year (YoY) until around spring 2018 but favorably grew in summer in August and October. However, power generation sharply decreased in September to about 2/3 the amount the previous year (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Monthly power generation sharply fell in September (source: Osaka Izumi Co-operative Society)

This was because the "Kyoto Kameoka Solar Power Plant," which boasts the largest grid capacity of 7.5MW among these four power plants, was struck by Typhoon No. 21 and some solar panels were damaged by a landslide.

We should still clearly remember that Typhoon No. 21, which moved from Shikoku through the Kinki region on September 4, 2018, was the first typhoon for 25 years to make landfall on the Japanese archipelago while remaining in the "very strong" category, marking the strongest winds on record at many locations primarily in western Japan. The typhoon caused a tanker to crash into Kansai International Airport's access bridge, and roughly 8,000 passengers and workers were stranded at the airport.

In the case of the Kyoto Kameoka Solar Power Plant, the power generation facility itself endured such powerful winds, but flooding was sufficiently controlled within the site. However, the heavy rain triggered a landslide in the mountains adjacent to the site and caused sediment and muddy water to pour into the site and damage on-site cables and as many as 120 panels.