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Major Typhoon Damages Floating Mega Solar Plant (page 2)

Causing fire, piling up of panels

2019/09/30 13:12
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Operation stopped in the morning

The power producer of the damaged floating mega (large-scale) solar power plant is Kyocera TLC Solar of Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, which is jointly financed by Tokyo Century Corp and Kyocera Corp. Yamakura Dam is a pond that supplies water for industrial use and is managed by the Enterprise Agency of Chiba Prefecture. Kyocera TLC Solar leased about 180,000m2 of the pond's surface and installed 50,904 solar panels on floating mounting systems.

The output to the grid is 11.5MW, and the power is sold to TEPCO Energy Partner Inc using the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme. The power plant was designed and constructed by Kyocera Communication Systems Co Ltd (KCCS). The panels were manufactured by Kyocera and feature an output of 270W/sheet. The plant incorporates PV inverters (500kW units) manufactured by SMA Solar Technology AG of Germany and floating mounting systems manufactured by Ciel Terre of France. The operation and maintenance are handled by Kyocera Solar Corp.

According to a spokesperson of Kyocera, an abnormality in the Chiba Yamakura Floating Mega Solar Power Plant was detected by the remote monitoring system at sunrise after typhoon No.15 passed through Chiba Prefecture before sunrise on the 9th. The operation was stopped in the morning, disconnecting the plant from the power transmission system (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Operation stopped in morning, disconnecting from grid. PV inverters at back of picture (source: Nikkei BP)

The company quickly investigated and analyzed the cause.

"Solar panels at solar power plants generally generate current when solar panels are subjected to sunlight, even if the operation is stopped, posing a risk of ignition due to electrical leakage caused by damage," according to the public relations division of Kyocera. "The fire may have been caused because of such situation" (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Solar panels continue to generate power even if operation stops (source: Nikkei BP)