Visit to Plant

Cost Lowered, Efficiency Boosted by Using 'DC 1,500V' at 71MW Solar Plant

First Solar responsible for development, operation, maintenance

2019/10/06 03:47
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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About 71MW output in Hodatsushimizucho

Hodatsushimizucho (town) at the base of the Noto Peninsula in the middle of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, is home to "Mount Hodatsu" (637m above sea level), the highest mountain in the Noto region (Fig. 1), as well as a ruined castle and other historic buildings from the Kaga Domain.

Fig. 1: "Mt. Hodatsu": Noto region's highest mountain (source: Hodatsushimizucho)

In December 2018, the largest mega- (large-scale) solar power plant in the Hokuriku region began operation in the town (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Ishikawa Sogo Solar Power Plant constructed on hill leading to Mt. Hodatsu (source: First Solar Japan)

That is the "Ishikawa Sogo Solar Power Plant" with an output of about 71MW constructed on the hill stretching east from Mt. Hodatsu towards Tomioka City, Toyama Prefecture. The power producer is a special purpose company (SPC) financed by First Solar Japan GK (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), and the completion ceremony took place in July 2019. First Solar Japan is a Japanese unit of First Solar Inc, a leading solar panel manufacturer of the US.

The grid capacity is 59.52MW while the solar panel capacity reaches 71.208MW. The solar panel capacity as high as about 71MW is not only the highest among the solar power plants in the Hokuriku region but also the eighth highest among the mega-solar plants in operation across Japan. Annual power generation is expected to total 78,800,000kWh, which is equivalent to the consumption of about 18,000 general households.

The project site, almost 163ha, was mostly a former golf course development site, which had been abandoned before completion and become wasteland. With permission given to develop forestland before the golf course development, First Solar Japan converted the land use category and constructed additional drainage facilities while utilizing the existing reservoir and so on.