Visit to Plant

Bicycle Used to Patrol Solar Site at Former Golf Course in Mie

2020/03/11 20:26
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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The "Sun Country Sakakibara Tsu (Tsu Solar Power Plant)," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a solar panel capacity of 2.5056MW and a PV inverter capacity of 1.990MW, is located in the mountains of Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Located on former golf course. Osaka Line of Kintetsu Railway runs below mega-solar plant (source: Comsys Create)

The solar plant site is part of the "Sakakibara Golf Club" in Hakusancho, Tsu City. This golf course originally had 36 holes, nine of which were closed and transformed into the mega-solar site. The remaining 27 holes are still used as a golf course.

The Nippon Comsys Corp Group, which primarily deals with telecom infrastructure, developed and runs this mega-solar plant. Nippon Comsys is responsible for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) services, whereas Comsys Create Corp (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), which develops new businesses for Nippon Comsys, serves as the power producer.

Approximately six years and four months have passed since the mega-solar plant in Tsu City began operation in November 2013. Generated power is sold at 40 yen/kWh (excluding tax) to Chubu Electric Power Co Inc based on the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.

Tsu City is known for its high amount of sunshine. Despite short-term fluctuations, the amount of power generation at the mega-solar plant on the former golf course has been favorable since operation began, remaining at roughly 3,000,000kWh per year compared with the initial estimate of about 2,700,000kWh per year at the planning phase without major fluctuations.

Nippon Comsys developed the former golf course with undulations across the whole site into three tiers and arrayed solar panels keeping the undulations (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Undulating site developed with three tiers (source: Nikkei BP)

Although many solar power plants only look at limiting the initial cost and pay less attention to operation, this mega-solar plant is designed to be easy to manage and inspect. Covered by crushed stone, the ground has been paved like a road. Railings are provided along sloping pathways (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Sloping pathway and railings (source: Nikkei BP)