Japan to Create Technical Standards for Floating Solar Plants

2020/02/12 12:58
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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The floating mega solar plant in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, damaged by typhoon winds in the summer of 2019 (source: Nikkei BP)

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced Feb 5, 2020, that it will consider technical standards for floating solar power generation facilities at a meeting of New Energy Power Generation Facility Accident/Structural Strength Working Group (WG).

METI also announced a specific schedule related to the technical standards and items to be discussed.

In regard to floating solar power plants using the surfaces of reservoirs and lakes, safety regulations for them became an issue after, for example, a floating mega (large-scale) solar power plant in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, was damaged by strong typhoon winds on a large scale in the summer of 2019, causing a fire accident.

Currently, exiting technical standards for electric facilities are applied to floating solar power plants. However, in a meeting of the WG in November 2019, METI said that it is necessary to formulate separate technical standards in consideration of the "on-water" installation as the number of floating solar power plants increases.

According to the schedule that METI announced in the meeting that took place Feb 5, 2020, it will establish a WG for considering technical standards for floating solar power plants within fiscal 2019 and discuss them mainly with external experts in fiscal 2020.

Specifically, METI will decide elements required for the safety of floating solar power plants in Japan by (1) collecting/organizing information about the manufacturers, product types, installation types, etc of floating solar mounting systems, (2) extracting accident factors from accidents in and outside Japan and (3) extracting items to be included in technical standards for Japan from overseas regulation information.