Major Typhoon Damages Floating Mega Solar Plant

Causing fire, piling up of panels

2019/09/30 13:12
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Largest floating mega solar plant in Japan

In the afternoon of September 9, 2019, when typhoon No.15 passed through Chiba Prefecture, a fire broke out at the "Chiba Yamakura Floating Mega Solar Power Plant," which was constructed on the surface of "Yamakura Dam," a pond in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The floating mounting systems were broken and bent due to the strong typhoon winds, generating fires in multiple locations.

The output of solar panels floating on the water surface at the plant, which is the largest floating solar power plant in Japan, is approximately 13.7MW. The operation of the plant was started in March 2018 (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: The "Chiba Yamakura Floating Mega Solar Power Plant" immediately after completion (source: Kyocera Corp)

The fire was reported to Ichihara City Fire Department at 1:00 pm on September 9. Seven fire engines and 21 firefighters were dispatched to the site. Water was discharged from the northern shore, which was nearest to the fire. Because the water did not reach the fire when normal fire engines with a water discharge distance of 20 to 30m were used, a large vehicle mounted with a cannon (DHCU) featuring a discharge distance of 70 to 100m was used, and the fire was distinguished at 3:24 pm. No one was injured by the fire.

In discharging water onto solar panels on fire, there is a risk of electric shock to fire fighters if water is discharged in a cylinder shape. Water in the pond was pumped up to be used on the fire, but the fire fighters did not get electric shocks. It seems that the risk of electric shock was reduced because the water discharge distance was far and the water changed to mist at the discharge destination (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Fire generated in areas where mounting systems lay on top of one another (source: Nikkei BP)