PV boom continues to shape Japanese prefectures

Japanese financial services group Orix Corporation celebrated the completion of a large-scale solar power plant in the city of Mitoyo in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture on Monday.

A wholly-owned Orix subsidiary company will run the 2 MW Orix Mitoyo Mega-Solar Power Plant, which was built on a site owned by the Mitoyo-based firm Asahigaoka Sangyo, according to a report by Japan’s Solar Power Plant Business news site.

Takenaka Corporation provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the plant — the first large-scale solar plant for which Takenaka provided EPC services in the Shikoku region.

Solar Frontier K.K. and Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation (TMEIC) manufactured the plant’s solar panels, which use CIS-based solar cells, and PV inverters, respectively. The project employed a mounting system with a concrete foundation.

According to the report, Asahigaoka Sangyo is looking at building another large-scale PV plant with an output power of about 2 MW on a site adjacent to the newly-built power plant.

In related news, the Tottori Shizen Kankyou Kan (Natural Environment Center) recently opened next to a large-scale PV plant under constructed in the city of Yonago in Tottori Prefecture.

The center will showcase the power generation facilities of the 42.9 MW Softbank Tottori Yonago Solar Park, which is set to start operations in February, as well as other renewable energy-based power generation facilities in the prefecture and the activities of nonprofit organizations working on environmental issues.

The Softbank Tottori Yonago Solar Park is operated by a 50-50 joint venture formed by SB Energy Corporation, which is affiliated with the Softbank group, and Mitsui & Co Ltd. The array employs 178,800 panels manufactured by Sharp.

Akio Hayashi, the deputy governor of Tottori Prefecture, said the Natural Environment Center was the first such center in Japan to be located adjacent to a large-scale plant and used for the introduction of environmental activities in the surrounding areas.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has authorized Tottori Prefecture as a "next-generation energy park," a designation established to help municipalities in their efforts to inform local residents about new energies and use renewable energy projects for the development of the area.

In addition to the Softbank Tottori Yonago Solar Park, the prefecture has several new renewable energy generation facilities in operation, including a 13.5 MW wind power plant in Hokuei-chou and biomass power generation facilities in the city of Yonago.

The Natural Environment Center will functions as the next-generation energy park’s core facility.