Largest PV plant in Japan goes online

Japan’s largest PV power plant has been brought online this week in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima.

The 70 MW PV plant is run and owned by local utility provider, the Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation, and relies on system technology provided by Germany’s SMA.

SMA has provided 140 Sunny Central 500CP-JP central inverters, and 1,260 Sunny String-Monitors for the plant, which is now the largest single solar farm in Japan.

"The fact that SMA system technology is being used for Japan’s largest PV power plant underscores our excellent position in this key market," said SMA CEO, Pierre-Pascal Urbon. SMA has established a keen presence in Japan in recent years, setting up a sales and service company in Tokyo and having its Sunny Boy inverters certified by the Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories (JET) for use in rooftop arrays for the Japanese market.

Even though JET certification is not required for central inverters used on industrial-scale solar projects, SMA felt compelled to ensure that its Sunny Boy technology would be able to withstand the multitude of adverse weather conditions that panels in southern Japan can sometimes be subjected to – conditions including typhoons, high humidity and salty air.

SMA is also the only non-Japanese manufacturer to receive JET certification for a three-phase device, in SMA’s case its Sunny Tripower 10000TLEE-JP three-phase inverter.

"Thanks to our local sales and service structures, as well as system solutions specifically tailored to local requirements, we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the tremendous growth expected in this future market," continued Urbon. "In fact, by the end of 2013, Japan is forecase to surpass Germany as the world’s strongest PV market in terms of sales."

Despite SMA’s flexible and proactive approach to the Japanese market, the inverter manufacturer has announced this week that it does not expect to break even in 2013, citing a European downturn for the company’s anticipated €80-€90 million loss for the year.