1.9MW Solar Plant In Hokkaido Generates Most Power In Winter

- Apr 21, 2019-

The "PVNext EBH Urahoro Power Plant No. 1," a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant with a solar panel capacity of about 1.95MW and a PV inverter capacity of 1.75MW, is located in Urahorocho, Tokachi-gun, Hokkaido, Japan (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: PVNext EBH Urahoro Power Plant No. 1 with solar panel capacity of about 1.95MW. No plant No. 2 when aerial photo above shot. (source: top EnBio Holdings, bottom Nikkei BP)

This mega-solar plant is run by Altair Solar LLC, a special purpose company (SPC) of soil contamination solution company EnBio Holdings Inc.

EnBio is currently operating solar power plants at 16 locations with a total output of about 35.52MW (See related article).

Former gravel pit utilized

This mega-solar plant in Urahorocho was developed utilizing a relatively flat site (Fig. 2). The site was previously a gravel pit. EnBio rented the site owned by a local enterprise's president as a mega-solar site.

Fig. 2: Former gravel pit used (source: Nikkei BP)

The plant started selling power at 36 yen/kWh under the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme in February 2017.

The plant is named "Urahoro Power Plant No. 1" because the "Urahoro Power Plant No. 2" adjoins to the north (Fig. 3). Despite the same landowner, a completely different power producer started constructing plant No. 2 at a different time.

Fig. 3: Plant No. 2 being constructed on adjoining site to north (top), after completion (bottom) (source: EnBio Holdings)

As the Urahoro Power Plant No. 1 placed an application after the grid connection within the Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc's coverage area had reached the available capacity, unlimited and non-compensated output restriction (output control) was required for grid connection. This was EnBio's first power plant that had to accept unlimited and non-compensated output restriction.

At many of the solar power plants subject to unlimited and non-compensated output restriction, finance and loan conditions grew tighter at the beginning, as it was difficult to estimate how much restriction would be imposed in the future. According to EnBio, however, it succeeded in getting finance without seeing loan conditions deteriorate.

Futaba Industry Co Ltd based in Sapporo provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.

Adopted were solar panels manufactured by UPSolar Group Co Ltd of China and all-in-one-type products of Wave Energy Inc (Minato-ku, Tokyo) that integrated primarily PV inverter-related products of Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) and other equipment such as power collectors and step-up transformers (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Products that integrated power collectors, PV inverters and step-up transformers adopted. Covers above step-up transformers improved as their removal and replacement lowered inspection efficiency. (source: Nikkei BP)