Japan’s largest mega-solar project to date has gone online in Kagoshima, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.
Just a year in the making, the 70MW power station was constructed using around 290,000 Kyocera-made panels and is expected generate electricity totaling around 78,800MWh per year; about equivalent to the annual energy use of 22,000 average households. The electricity generated will be supplied to local utility company Kyushu Electric Power for 20 years.
The ~¥27 billion project was a joint venture by Kyocera, KDDI Corporation, Bank of Kyoto, Kagoshima Bank, Takenaka Corporation and IHI Corporation (which leases the land) – a high-powered consortium which goes by the name of Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation. Project finance was overseen by Mizuho Bank.
As shown in the pictures below, the project, around 127 hectares in area, sits on a rectangular island jutting out to sea on the coast – just as was illustrated in the original plans. PV Tech reports that in June, Kyocera announced that the PV plant would feature a two storey visitor centre, designed to educate the general public about solar power.
The powerful Japanese big solar conglomerate, Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation, was born of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, and the resulting nuclear disaster; and of the favourable government policy prompted by this same series of events.
In a statement released back in April 2o12 – when the plans were first unveiled – the three companies said they believed it was “their corporate responsibility to proactively tackle environmental problems” and “to resolve power supply issues caused by the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake;” and that with the planned July 1 (2012) start of Japan’s new, improved feed-in tariff the time was right to capitalise on the new level of “expectations and interest” in solar in the country.
Speaking at the official opening of the plant, Nobuo Kitamura, the president of Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation, promised that the power company would make full use of the renewable energy generated, and said he hoped the engineering team wouls offer an “answer” to solve Japan’s energy problem and pass on a “cleaner Earth” to the next generation.
“We would like to contribute to new development and improvement for human societies through a new type of energy production from Kagoshima, the place where many courageous samurai challenged the ancient political and social regime in the 1860s to reform the country,” Kitamura said.
Meanwhile, having just passed the 4GW mark in cumulative utility-scale solar, China looks set to rack up the same amount in one year next year, according to new government estimates. Bloomberg reports that China aims to raise its installed solar power generation target for 2014 to 12GW (from 10GW originally), according to a Shanghai Securities News report citing unidentified sources from provincial and city energy departments. It is reported that the 12GW estimate would include 8GW of distributed PV, and 4GW of PV power plants.