Kyocera increases PV plant size following government energy restrictions

Work has concluded on what it now the largest photovoltaic plant at a Kyocera facility, in Fukushima, Japan.

Having previously installed a 36 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system at its Tanagura manufacturing plant, which produces telecommunications equipment, the Japanese electronics company increased the system’s size to 230 kW following restrictions on the use of electricity, introduced by the Japanese Government.

The system is now expected to cover roughly 8.5 percent of the facility’s energy consumption.

Energy shortages

The Japanese government announced on July 1, that high-volume users in the Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. and Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. service areas must reduce their electricity consumption by 15 percent compared to last year. This is due to expected power supply shortages during the summer months, following the earthquake and Tsunami which hit the country on March 11.

In total, Kyocera has eight manufacturing sites in the aforementioned service areas. In order to meet the government’s new 15 percent reduction target, it has also installed a 130 kW photovoltaic system at its Kyocera Elco Corporation’s new headquarters, and a 58 kW solar power generating system at its Yokohama sales office.

Emergency measures

According to a news report in Bloomberg, this is the first time the Japanese Government has introduced mandatory power saving regulations since the 1970s.

Power utility Tepco is reportedly "struggling" to meet the rising energy demand in the area following the disaster.

Bloomberg writes: "Starting at 6 p.m. Japan time today [July 1], the company [Tepco] will issue a daily power demand forecast for the next day, Mori said [Yoshinori Mori, a Tepco spokesman]. If the projected demand exceeds 97 percent of expected capacity, the government will issue a warning of possible power shortages, he said."

"We may take emergency measures, including scheduled blackouts, if demand is too high," Mori told the news source.

Many large companies like Sony and Toyota have been affected by the new energy saving measures, and are reportedly "changing working hours and shifting production to weekends (…)."