70MW: Kyocera and partners to build largest photovoltaic power plant in Japan

Apr 12, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) -- Electronics giant Kyocera, along with partners IHI Corp. and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd have jointly announced plans to build a photovoltaic power plant in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima, in Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, which is just across the Kanmon Strait from the big island of Honshu. The move is in response to the devastating Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster the country experienced last year that has left the country in near crises mode in developing new infrastructure to support the electrical needs of the nation; since the earthquake, all but one of Japan’s nuclear plants have been shut down. In response, the government has set up a feed-in tariff program designed to spur renewable energy growth. The new plant in Kagoshima will benefit from that program.

Kyocera, started in 1959 as a ceramics company, has been in the solar panel business for thirty five years and will provide the 290,000 panels needed for the project and will serve as the primary shareholder in the new company that will be created to run the plant which will be situated on land owned by IHI, a development corporation. Mizuho will handle the financing.

The new plant, which will be called the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant, is expected to take up approximately 314 acres, though drawings show most of that space will be over water, either by constructing a floating barge or building up the seabed below. Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 70MW of electricity (enough to power 22,000 homes) which would make it Japan’s largest such facility, and perhaps more tellingly, would amount to 40% of Japan’s total current solar electrical output.

The feed-in tariff program, which will take effect July 1st, is expected to spur investment in alternative energy sources by offering long-term low tariff contracts to companies that build facilities such as the new one in Kagoshima. Numerous projects have thus far been announced and likely many more will follow as Japan seeks to build new facilities to make up for those that have been lost.

Thus far Kyocera and partners have garnered the support of local officials in Kagoshima, and believe other partners will soon be joining the group to help pay for building the plant which is expected to run about 25 billion yen, or close to $309 million. Tentative plans call for construction to begin as early as July, right after the feed-in tariff program kicks in.

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Telekinetic
3.9 / 5 (15) Apr 12, 2012
This is the kind of smart response to a national crisis that the U.S. should emulate, not just in solar energy production, but in home-grown manufacturing initiatives that put people back to work.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (12) Apr 12, 2012
Not sure if building this on water is such a good idea. The next tsunami is going to eat this thing for lunch.

Japan is in a bit of a fix, here as they have very little spare land to go around. The land that is flat is used for farming and most of the rest is mountains. No wonder they are always thinking up space based solar schemes.

Shouldn't they be going for off shore wind and/or wave energy?
wwqq
3.3 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
Need ~30 of these(~0.2 capacity factor. At a cost of ~$10 billion) in conjunction with a ginormous amount of storage and/or transmission to replace a single 1 GWe coal or nuclear plant.

The storage obviously isn't going to be built, so this is just a natural gas plant in disguise.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2012
Need ~30 of these(~0.2 capacity factor. At a cost of ~$10 billion) in conjunction with a ginormous amount of storage and/or transmission to replace a single 1 GWe coal or nuclear plant.

For the projected cleanup cost of Fukushima alone you could build nearly 1000 such plants.
ShotmanMaslo
2.2 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2012
Is 70 MW nameplate capacity? In such case, its $309 million (including subsidies?) for what is effectively a 14 MW power plant (at a typical solar PV capacity factor of 20%, 70*0,2=14).
A pretty poor deal..
tpb
4.7 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2012
$309 million dollars for 70MW in Japan. ($4.4 million/MW)

Wuerth Solar GmbH & Co. plans a 287 MW $363 million dollar plant in the Murcia area in Spain.($1.26 million/MW) with no feed in tariffs.

So why is the Japanese plant 3.5 times as expensive as the German made Spanish plant, and it will have feed in tariffs.
Telekinetic
3.4 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012


So why is the Japanese plant 3.5 times as expensive as the German made Spanish plant, and it will have feed in tariffs.


This one floats.
NotParker
2 / 5 (12) Apr 12, 2012
Wow. 70MW for about the price of a 500MW NG plant sitting in the bay ready for the next tidal wave.

And massive subsidies.

Insane.
NotParker
1.3 / 5 (12) Apr 12, 2012
Wuerth Solar GmbH & Co. plans a 287 MW $363 million dollar plant in the Murcia area in Spain.($1.26 million/MW) with no feed in tariffs.


While I am quite happy to see companies risking their own money, and note that Wuerth recently sold off its solar cell manufacturing part of the business, I suspect the announcement is an attempt to survive while spending some of that subsidy cash it acquired.

Many other solar cell builders in Germany are in deep trouble.

http://www.theepo...958.html
Sonhouse
5 / 5 (5) Apr 12, 2012
It certainly doesn't sound cheap at over 4 dollars US a watt. The fact it is floating might give it a bit higher efficiency since the water would cool the PV's but still, 4 bucks a watt. Sounds like a lot of graft going on. I also thought about the tsunami thing. The map shows it might be protected from most of them but what about cyclones and such? Maybe they can be submerged for safety or something.
Current best US companies are doing better than 1 dollar a watt for land based PV's.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
Many other solar cell builders in Germany are in deep trouble.

Not really surprising.

Mno, not because the solar industry as a whole is in trouble - far from it. It's just like with any new technology (be it cars or computers, or solar panels). After an initial flury of new companies you go through a consolidation phase where only the best ones survive.
NotParker
1 / 5 (11) Apr 12, 2012
After an initial flury of new companies you go through a consolidation phase where only the best ones survive.


Funny how the people touting green jobs never mentioned they would all go bankrupt in the US and Germany and the only surviving companies would be in China.

The "green revolution" was all about destroying capitalism in the west.

http://www.spiege...,00.html

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
Far from 'all' companies are going bankrupt...just the equivalent to the Ataris, Amstrads, Buells, Dragon, Sinclair ...
jet
5 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2012
Japan is squeezed for space (they grow crops in highway medians ) the USA is not, the idea large less than efficient PV systems is much like making jet/diesel fuel from pine cones during WWII it can work but only usable if desperate.
holoman
3 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2012
Should see alot of nuclear activist threaten by this going on the
attack to shoot anykind of technology that deters nuclear funding.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2012
Why dont we see more Combination technology. Make this thing a solar, wind, wave, tidal and thermoelectric all in one. I think the best approach is to make a device that gets energy from multiple sources and the same time. Why not slap some solar cells on the wind farm blades, or make this floating solar farm also collect energy from waves and tidal forces. We need to gather as much energy as possible in the smallest area possible, so lets pull this tech together!
kaasinees
0.5 / 5 (25) Apr 12, 2012
Mno, not because the solar industry as a whole is in trouble - far from it. It's just like with any new technology (be it cars or computers, or solar panels). After an initial flury of new companies you go through a consolidation phase where only the best ones survive.

Take into account the european "crisis".

Also regarding the people saying that the costs are too high consider this.
If everything is made in japan than this project is a huge boost for the japanese economy.
NotParker
1.3 / 5 (12) Apr 12, 2012
25 of these = 1MW

http://www.costco...;topnav=

375,000 per MW

26 million for 70MW

Costco might give them a discount.
DavidW
2.3 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
$309,000,000 / 22,000 homes = $14,000 per home.

At $1,000 a year per home, that's 14 years for return on investment.

In 14 years, the collectors will be less efficient and new cheaper ones with much higher efficiency will be available.

Are they criminally insane?
Lurker2358
3.8 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2012
I don't understand why governments and energy firms simply haven't figured this out yet.

PV is for roof tops and small scale applications.

Solar parabolic trough vacuum boilers are for large scale, and are a fraction of the price and nearly 3 times as efficient per unit area.

in 314 acres, assuming half the area is used for maintenance access paths, and the generator system is 30% efficient, I find a solar boiler system could produce 190 megawatts in the same area.

If you could reduce maintenance access to 1/3rd of the area, you could push that number up to around 253 megawatts with the otherwise same technology!!
NotParker
1 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2012
25 of these = 1MW

http://www.costco...;topnav=

375,000 per MW

26 million for 70MW

Costco might give them a discount.


Or, you could get 150kWh generators for 29,000 each.

http://www.electr...999.html
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2012
I know the trolls will ask for links, being too lazy to look for them, so here.

http://www.youtub...T4ktnXYc

723f at 9000 Gallons per minute.

Which is somewhere in the ball park of 600 megawatts of heat before it goes through the steam cycle, having converted the "per minute" energy production to "per second" to get watts..
jet
3 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2012
to krundoloss, agreed that best use of site is a good idea, but the swiss army knife is not always the best tool.

Wind is a poor choice at best, intermittent (goldilocks power), PV only works during day and has a poor life span on investment, wave power nice idea but so far no manageable way to harness it as of yet. Wind and Solar also have storage issues and can not really be used for baseline power as of yet (if ever)
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2012
WTF?

For some reason half my post above disappeared.

Ok, here is the good link to an in-depth demonstration of the technology developed by Israel and produced by Germany, without the Spanish propaganda.

http://www.youtub...=related
Lurker2358
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2012
Yeah, wow.

they are actually getting closer to 40% efficiency out of the solar thermal steam process. I guess that must be a Rankine cycle.

That makes it even better than I thought.

Just got that citation off the other video. Roughly 600MW heat input, and 250MW electricity output.
Infinion
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
it's funny that the Japanese are so paranoid of anything nuclear that they're actually absurd enough to make a PV plant.

If you want to do nuclear right, don't make a light or heavy water breeder reactor that works on high pressure. A low pressure high temperature reactor like the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor is perfect for japan that is prone to so many natural disasters.
kaasinees
0.8 / 5 (26) Apr 12, 2012
Indeed a salt-mirror plant would probably be more efficient and give energy during the night for a lower cost.

Japan has an advantage though. They produce them in their own country. So even though the cost may be high, the money flows in their local economy and gives it a boost.

The costs is not the panels, they are very cheap there.
The cost is the man-hours and making available land in the water.
that_guy
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2012
Need ~30 of these(~0.2 capacity factor. At a cost of ~$10 billion) in conjunction with a ginormous amount of storage and/or transmission to replace a single 1 GWe coal or nuclear plant.

The storage obviously isn't going to be built, so this is just a natural gas plant in disguise.


1 GW Nuclear power generally runs about 7Billion plus fuel, plus maintenance, plus substantial decommission and fuel disposal costs.

1 GW coal power costs about 1billion, plus 100-300 Million dollars a year for fuel. (Up to 9 Billion for 30 years), Plus significant running and maintenance costs, infrastructure (Rail lines, etc), and decommission/environmental cleanup costs.

The way you put it, solar doesn't sound all that bad.

Electricity usage is highest during the day (Especially during summer), and early evening. You can install a certain amount of solar power, and it will just straight up reduce your reliance on natgas and other fossil fuels.
NotParker
1 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2012
You can install a certain amount of solar power, and it will just straight up reduce your reliance on natgas and other fossil fuels.


It will cost more to run the fossil fuel plants because they will have to be up and running and burning fuel in case of clouds.
Lurker2358
4 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2012
It will cost more to run the fossil fuel plants because they will have to be up and running and burning fuel in case of clouds.


Are you so stupid?

You can build like 10gw worth of solar thermal power plants for the build cost and lifetime fuel cost of 1gw worth of Coal power, not even counting the maintenance, transports, and cleanup costs mentioned by "that_guy"!

The same is true for wind. In fact, wind power is about 30 times as cost-productive as Coal over the product life time.

It's just wind power isn't as energy dense as solar, because you have to spread the turbines out to 10 to 15 times turbine radius to get optimal individual performance....but in a large open space, you COULD do both wind and Solar...

And hey, when it's cloudy? The wind is probably blowing...
Lurker2358
3.5 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2012
And by the way, even as bad an idea as PV is, the above Article title project should pay for itself in 12 years at just $0.11 per Kw/h.

It would pay for itself in 9 years at just $0.15 per kw/h.

A 10 megawatt wind turbine can pay for itself in 1 year at $0.11 per kw/h or 9 months at $0.15 per kw/h.

Even if you only averaged half productivity, that would make wind about 10 times more cost efficient than Coal over a 30 year product life time...
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 12, 2012
You can build like 10gw worth of solar thermal power plants for the build cost and lifetime fuel cost of 1gw worth of Coal power


Not even close. Coal runs at night, and plants last 50 years. PV lifetime is shorter and they degrade.
kaasinees
1.1 / 5 (29) Apr 12, 2012
You can build like 10gw worth of solar thermal power plants for the build cost and lifetime fuel cost of 1gw worth of Coal power


Not even close. Coal runs at night, and plants last 50 years. PV lifetime is shorter and they degrade.


1. solar thermal plants dont have PV(unless its some kind of hybrid system)
2. solar thermal plants run at night with realtively cheap salt heat storage.
3. solar thermal plants dont poison the environment, people, animals, food, rivers, oceans etc.
4. nothing really degrades, the reflectors need a wash now and then and rarely a polish. if it has moving parts we are talking about a replacement in 50 or 100 years.
5. its safe, i cant possibly think what can go wrong.
6. ???
7. profit.
Lurker2358
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2012
You can build like 10gw worth of solar thermal power plants for the build cost and lifetime fuel cost of 1gw worth of Coal power


Not even close. Coal runs at night, and plants last 50 years. PV lifetime is shorter and they degrade.


Yeah. You don't even know what I was talking about, lol.

theres two or three different, workable solar thermal configurations in use that can produce power at night, all you need is a reservoir and you use about twice as much collectors as the baseline power you want to provide.

the Spain, Israel, Germany, Egypt, the U.S., and several mid-east countries are already using these systems.

Other than turbines, there's almost no moving parts. The Heliostats make 365 turns per year...those ought to last for many decades with half-decent maintenance.

there is no sulfur, carbon, lead, or mercury or other toxins to pollute environment or corrode the systems, so parts should last very, very long time.

Educate yourself.
nuge
5 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012
Isn't Japan pretty well situated for geothermal energy? I know that New Zealand gets a lot of its power in this way, as does Iceland, both being very geologically active areas.
wwqq
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2012
For the projected cleanup cost of Fukushima alone you could build nearly 1000 such plants.


For the $14 billion projected cleanup cost of Fukushima you do not even come close to replacing the power produced by Fukushima, even before you think about storage and transmission.
wwqq
1 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2012
theres two or three different, workable solar thermal configurations in use that can produce power at night, all you need is a reservoir and you use about twice as much collectors as the baseline power you want to provide.


If the capacitor is the same size as the peak output, doubling the number of collectors will give you a capacity factor of a measely ~40%. You need to triple the capacity and build even more storage to get to a more respectable 60%(about the same as a coal plant, still far worse than nuclear)

Only a few such plants have ever been built. The gemasolar plant cost $21/W, which at 63% capacity factor comes out to $33/W average power.

Unless you already live in the desert, building powerlines from the desert to where people actually live is expensive and usually ignored by solar pushers.

With the cost of debt service, which is magically excluded only when talking about renewable energy, you need to double that cost.
wwqq
1 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2012
Other than turbines, there's almost no moving parts. The Heliostats make 365 turns per year...those ought to last for many decades with half-decent maintenance.


EIA puts the O&M cost for solar thermal higher than the fuel AND O&M cost combined for coal.

Onshore wind is better, but then you're back to the transmission and storage problem.

Educate yourself.


Heed your own advice.
kaasinees
Apr 13, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
wwqq
1.5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2012
And hey, when it's cloudy? The wind is probably blowing...


Solar thermal is placed in _deserts_; preferably near the equator. The best wind resource is found between ~30-50 degrees N and ~30-50 degrees south, where solar is pretty terrible.

Wind farms are generally not placed in deserts. If a desert was particularly windy you would not want to build solar thermal there either(frequent dust and sand storms).

They do not "average out". Building wind and solar is a minor improvement over building the same average power in just wind or just solar. You still need a lot of storage, you still need a lot of long distance transmission(that is in use only ~20-40% of the time due to capacity factor).

In most of the inhabited world you have big seasonal variations. In some places wind resource is best in winter when solar is worst; in others wind resource and solar resource are at their worst at the same time.
wwqq
not rated yet Apr 13, 2012
wwqq is lying.


Given which post you down-voted I think I know what you are accusing me of lying about.

Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2016; Dec 2010, DOE/EIA-0383(2010)
costs in 2009 USD/MWh
Fixed O&M solar thermal: 46.6
Fixed O&M coal: 3.9; Variable O&M (including fuel): 24.3

Your turn. Put up or shut up.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2012
In 14 years, the collectors will be less efficient

It's not as bad as it's made out to be. We put up solar panels on my parents' house. These are 14 years old now and have lost only 5% efficiency so far.
and new cheaper ones with much higher efficiency will be available.

You can always wait until better stuff is available. But that's not always sensible. Buying now and having it paid off in 14 years is better than buying in 3 years and having it paid off in 12 after that. Not to mention having to buy fossil fuels for those 3 years to cover the energy you aren't producing.

PV does have an advantage over solar thermal: It produces some energy even when weather conditions aren't optimal. So it really depends on the weather profile of the area you want to set this stuff up in what makes the most sense.
kaasinees
0.3 / 5 (22) Apr 13, 2012
Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2016; Dec 2010, DOE/EIA-0383(2010)
costs in 2009 USD/MWh
Fixed O&M solar thermal: 46.6
Fixed O&M coal: 3.9; Variable O&M (including fuel): 24.3

Your turn. Put up or shut up.

And what kind of formula sorcery did they cook up with in order to come to those numbers?
kaasinees
0.5 / 5 (23) Apr 13, 2012
http://www.dom.co...acts.pdf

The sheer idiocy of that powerplant.
1 million gallons of water per day... damn.
Life span only 50 years compared to solar thermal plant of hundreds of years.
Limestone consumption???????? What for.

At least its better than a fossil fuel power plant.
But it costs more than 2 billion $.
For that money you can build something a lot better.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012

1 GW Nuclear power generally runs about 7Billion plus fuel, plus maintenance, plus substantial decommission and fuel disposal costs.


Lets make some calculations:
Current construction cost of two new AP-1000 1154 MWe reactors is cca 15 billion. At the typical nuclear capacity factor 0,8, its 1846 MW, or 8 million per MW of real output.
The cost of this power plant is 309 million. At the typical solar PV capacity factor of 0,2, its 309 000 000 / 14 MW = 22 million per MW of real output.
This plant costs 2,75x more per MW than modern nuclear plant.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2012
Lets make some calculations:
Current construction cost of two new AP-1000 1154 MWe reactors is cca 15 billion.

Cost of nuclear powerplants is pretty academic at this point. Nuclear is a no-go in Japan. They don't have the land to spare when one of them goes on the fritz.

For the US, Russia or China things are different. They can afford to have several hundred square miles contaminated and basically out of the economic loop for the next millennium every once in a while. Many other countries - especially densely settled ones - cannot afford that. You can only play the numbers game if you have spare cash (land).
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2012
70MW


1/2 the day is dark. 35MW
1/4 of the days are cloudy. 25MW
1/4 of the days are rainy. 20MW.

Fixed. 1/3 the power 1/2 the time. Or less. Probably much less.
sender
not rated yet Apr 15, 2012
A sea wall with water dam makes more appreciable sense for a water logged area.