Visit to Plant

1.7MW Solar Plant Overcomes Snow Cover, Frost Heave in Aomori (page 2)

Loss kept to minimum despite breakdown of PV inverter's cooling system

2019/04/02 23:56
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
Print Page

Favorable power generation even in snow season

The mega-solar plant in Hachinohe City has steadily realized annual power sales of roughly 90 million yen (approx US$808,62) and operating revenue of about 40 million yen over approximately the last five and a half years since it started operation.

In May 2016, the power plant was expanded, with 1,260 solar panels corresponding to about 200kW set up in an unused area to the north of the building which is rented as a warehouse (Fig. 3). The additional solar panels were the same 160W/unit-output products that had initially been set up when the operation started.

Fig. 3: Additional solar panels (source: Nikkei BP)

Following this expansion, the power sales amount has tended to grow more than before.

Compared with other areas in Aomori Prefecture, both the time and the amount of snowfall are relatively less in Hachinohe City. For example, it is said snow will not accumulate much around Hachinohe City even if there is snow cover in Aomori City, which is known for heavy snow.

One of the reasons why the annual power sales are stable is that the decrease in the power generation amount is relatively small when there is snow cover in the city. Even if snow accumulates on the solar panels, it will reportedly melt by around noon in most cases.

That said, snow sometimes falls up to about 50cm around the mega-solar plant in Hachinohe City. To meet the requirements to endure the height and the weight of snow cover, solar panels were tilted by 20° and set up 1m from the ground (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Set up 1m from ground, tilted by 20 degrees (source: Nikkei BP)