Visit to Plant

Number of Sheep Increased to Boost Weeding Efficiency at Solar Plant

Herbicide used proactively in areas with no sheep

2019/06/17 17:01
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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On May 29, 2019, at the "Nikke Machinaka Power Plant Akashi Tsuchiyama," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a total output of about 17MW in Inamicho, Kako-gun, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, the five sheep being grazed within the plant site were sheared (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Sheep before shearing (top) and after shearing (bottom) (source: Nikkei BP)

The site had an idyllic atmosphere which is barely seen at typical solar power plants.

The Japan Wool Textile Co Ltd (Nikke), the power producer of this mega-solar plant, used a former short-distance golf course "Nikke Golf Club Tsuchiyama Center" as the site for the plant (Fig. 2, See related article).

Fig. 2: Utilizing former golf course in town. Pond of former golf course (middle row right), additional solar panels set up on adjacent former parking space (bottom left), shrine in site (bottom right). (source: top Nikke, others Nikkei BP)

The power plant consists of Phase 1 equivalent to about 11MW, which started operation in October 2013, and Phase 2 equivalent to about 6MW, which started operation in February 2014. At the Phase 2 area, additional solar panels equivalent to about 192kW were set up on an adjacent former parking space in 2018.