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IBC Solar to build its 1st mega solar plants in Japan

17 Comments
By Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

IBC Solar, a Germany-based solar panel manufacturer, announced that it will build two mega (large-scale) solar power plants in Japan.

IBC Solar will construct 2.3MW and 1.6MW solar power plants in Sakura City and Ohtawara City, Tochigi Prefecture, respectively, planning to sell them to investors.

They will be the company's first mega solar plants in Japan. For the 2.3MW plant, whose construction started in mid-May, it will use 9,144 units of its "IBC PolySol 255" panel.

© Nikkei Technology Online

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17 Comments
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Good news, solar is the way to go and grind the nuclear industry into the dust!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes, bulldoze the forests to put up solar in a country that is cloudy most of the year. 2.3 MW? Are you kidding? Nuclear reactors are usually over 1000 MW. You'd have to bulldoze all of Japan to put up solar cells to make 1 or 2 nuclear plants.

2 ( +5 / -4 )

That's why in the longer term, a better solution for Japan beyond solar panels (which work best in Shikoku, Kyushu and the Chugoku region of Honshu) is a new generation of nuclear reactors that are extremely safe to run even in earthquake-prone sites.

An example of this is the molten-salt reactor that India and China are working on, along with TerraPower here in the USA. Because molten-salt reactors don't need expensive pressurized reactor vessels and only need to dump the liquid fuel from the reactor in case of an emergency shutdown, it means way lower construction costs and higher plant safety. And molten-salt reactors can use commonly-found thorium-232 or even things like reprocessed spent uranium-235 fuel rods or even plutonium-239 from dismantled nuclear weapons for fuel.

While solar panels at first look seems like a great idea in Japan, the problem is that much of Japan outside of the regions I mentioned are subject to serious winter storms and long winter nights, which can seriously cut the effective usability of solar panels.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Finally. Solar can be placed all over the country and multiple sources means less cashola for far away icky nuclear. Use them everywhere. Try the solar roadways idea. This might even lead to a home design building code requirement who knows

Funny thing, when you do things, things get done

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Has any body thought about wind farms yet??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Love this news germany -japan partnership of solar powers. gee.. thanks its not china ..but will it be feasible in norther japan? where winters are longer esp the problem with winter storms? i hope they will find some solutions to snow covered regions where solar panels will be effectively usable..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Germany is the world leader in solar power usage, BUT they still have over 28 nuclear power plants operational. get the picture people. solar/wind wont/cant replace nuclear power for at least another 20-30 years. all you eco warriors need to come back down to earth. nuclear will be here for a while yet. if you dont like it move to NZ most of there power is hydro. but they only have 4 million people to supply.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Germany has 9 reactors operating, not 28 and 8 which it shut down following thee 3/11 nuclear disaster.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@sf2k

Try the solar roadways idea

Could not agree more. It is, without a doubt, the road to sustainable energy for the future generations. (Pun intended)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, bulldoze the forests to put up solar in a country that is cloudy most of the year. 2.3 MW? Are you kidding? Nuclear reactors are usually over 1000 MW. You'd have to bulldoze all of Japan to put up solar cells to make 1 or 2 nuclear plants.

You really need to understand how fast solar power technology is developing, and how quickly costs are dropping.

In Japan, solar is already generating gigawatts of power, and a lot of new generating capacity will be added this year (6-7 GW), so your idea that the whole country would have to be flattened to provide enough solar to equal a couple of nuclear power installations has been bypassed by reality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Japan#cite_note-PVmag-20140304-4

If the perceived inefficiency of solar bothers you, you might consider where nuclear power has gone in Japan. Three years ago, it crashed into a wall at full speed, and presently doesn't generate any power at all. That's pretty inefficient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sf2k

Try the solar roadways idea

Driving along the shaded hilly roads here, thinking of the heavy rain, and the tiny amount of solar cells in the solar roadway units leads me to think that this is an idea which will never have its time.

Wipeout,

Nuclear was switched off for political reasons. If I had the power to turn off solar for three years, would that add to its inefficiency?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Star-viking

Driving along the shaded hilly roads here, thinking of the heavy rain, and the tiny amount of solar cells in the solar roadway units leads me to think that this is an idea which will never have its time.

in the long term you are incorrect with your opinion. Recently, I've read several lengthy articles on this topic and possibility. The black stuff on the road surface is made from oil and when that runs out, so does the black stuff. I always favored the idea of using used card tyres which also make the volume of noise quieter.

But the idea of covering the main roads, highways and expressways with solar panals is becoming a possibility. They can also have LED lights to be used in many different ways. Future cars, at least ones could recharge from the roads using wifi.

The future is always nearer than you think.

The nuclear reactors were shut down while investigations into the causes of the nuclear disaster was carried out which revealed a serious lack of safety standards at the atomic power plants which also led to the new NRA and new safety standards.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Zichi,

I agree on the need to find a replacement road surface, but solar roadways are not it. If they are to operate in Japan they would need to be flood, subsidence, and shade proof. At any reasonable level of investment, they're not. Far better to take the tiny solar cells in each unit, combine them together, and put them in a roof.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Star-viking

Far better to take the tiny solar cells in each unit, combine them together, and put them in a roof.

If the solar roadways were only solar cells in a low density configuration, perhaps it is a silly idea. But putting them on a roof doesn't replace the roof, it adds on. Solar roadways on the other hand, not only replaces roads, it makes them have more than one purpose: Road (obviously), eco friendly (no oil. Uses recycled material), safety (LEDs, pressure censors (wild game on road) to name a few), no extra space needed (roads are already everywhere), electricity generation via solar panel, electric grid more spread-out and accessible AND it'll look awesome.

It seems that you are rejecting reality and substituting your own.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If I had the power to turn off solar for three years, would that add to its inefficiency?

You don't and you couldn't so what a total non-argument that is.

Once solar is installed it actually does its job, fulfilling two of the promises of nuclear power (clean, safe) and increasingly fulfilling a third (cheap). The costs are dropping fast and continue to drop. There's no reason someone would find to switch off power being generated very safely by an already installed base of solar facilities and residential solar panels. The size of that base is increasing at a hell of a speed, and it will continue to.

Nuclear power has the seeds of its own destruction built into it. The risk of what can go wrong is never not part of the equation, even if, as in Japan, they are ignored (and that attitude is certainly not unique to this country). You can complain all you like about it being a political decision to halt nuclear generation. It was a political decision to build all those reactors in the first place. The costs of the Fukushima disaster are one of the real costs of nuclear power in Japan - others remain hidden or saved for another day, such as when the next meltdown or meltdowns occur. But they can't just be shrugged off because companies like to bank the profits and pass along the losses: we're talking about trillions of yen of damage here from a single facility.

Along with the sheer financial cost, there is indeed inefficiency. Because nuclear incidents can't just be ignored, reactors are taken offline when things go wrong. This has always been the case. Monju has never worked as intended, and instead it's been a giant hole down which a vast amount of money has been poured for no good reason. That's inefficient. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa was closed for 21 months after the 2007 Chuetsu earthquake. That's inefficient. And there's no getting round it, because even in Japan, some aspect of the threat from earthquakes is acknowledged. Even if reactors are restarted, such incidents will occur - a seismic inevitability - and plants will be shut for long periods. And an idle plant is an inefficient one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

James Dean Jr.

If you thought about how unsuitable it was to put solar cells on the ground, on a surface which is subject to heavy loads and bad weather, you would realise you are rejecting reality.

Wipeout.

Stop changing the subject, if solar investments got made, then put on hold for political reasons then there would be massive losses.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stop changing the subject, if solar investments got made, then put on hold for political reasons then there would be massive losses.

You sound very hung up on the idea that the reactors are offline for political reasons. I don't know how you'd be going about backing that up with some evidence, but in any case, it's undeniable that there are safety concerns which have to be taken account of after the events of March 2011. Fukushima Daiichi has already put a large area of Japan's land out of bounds and the unfortunate evacuees have been treated very shabbily, not least in terms of compensation payments.

Your comparison of nuclear with solar is completely spurious: solar isn't going to be put on hold indefinitely, because it doesn't pose the same risks that nuclear does - and nuclear isn't just risky, but is now proven to be a source of disaster. Those "massive losses" are what the nuclear industry has brought upon itself - them (and you) trying to pass the buck adds insult to injury, as the costs will either be passed along to their customers, or extracted from the taxpayer, just as TEPCO is doing with the trillions of yen in damage it has caused.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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