Ford's solar array at Michigan Assembly Plant

The Japanese duo of Mitsui Chemicals and Toshiba have crafted a plan to construct the island nation's most extensive solar power facility to date, according to the Nikkei business daily.

The project is in anticipation of the passage of a bill in Japan that will require utilities to purchase a percentage of electricity from renewable sources at fixed rates. It's anticipated the bill will become law by July of 2012.

The proposed 50,000-kW solar facility will be constructed on 800,000 square meters (198 acres) of land owned by Mitsui Chemicals. The cost of the project is estimated at 20 billion yen ($262.3 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) and is expected to be functional by the end of 2013. Mitsui Chemicals and Toshiba say they will sell electricity directly to Chubu Electric Power.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      You know how small solar energy is, when an article has in it's title "massive 50-MW". There is nothing massive about 50MW. That's a small installation, even could be called tiny by energy installation standards.
        EJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Edge
        It's enough to offset the annual energy usage of about 5,400 US homes. And it's certainly massive compared to my 9.4kW array.
          fairfireman21
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EJ
          It may be able to power 5400 homes but to cover the cost each home would have a $1200 per year power bill for 40 years. and this array covers the same space as 4107 average sized us homes (2100 square feet). Or they could have used wind and produced the same if not more power for far less and without the vast amount of space used, could have made a wind park around them or used it as green land not nothing land.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Between these new renewable projects and their SETSUDEN campaign (energy conservation), Japan seems to be doing really well despite Fukushima being dead and several other nuclear plants taken off-line.
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I estimate that spread out over 20 years, that's 18 cents per kw*hr. I used an equivalent 4 hour per day diversity, which is about typical. That doesn't include maintenance or finance costs, though. It might not include cost of land and and it may also be after subsidies. This is nonetheless pretty impressive. Previous projects I have been involved with and have read about come at around 21 cents per kw*hr after subsidies. Solar seems to be falling in price. I hope this continues.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        It's insanity. Japan is obviously fed up with being a developed industrial country. The cost per kw is around $5,250 or so. Allowing for perhaps around a 16% capacity factor for the latitude of Japan, you are talking about a ludicrous ~$33,000 kw of actual average output. Not only is Japanese industry expected to cope with a lack of energy, now they are going to completely stuff them by turning to somebody's fantasy non-solution.
          fairfireman21
          • 3 Years Ago
          SPEC, Wind has those same advantages but at a fraction of the cost. If you got 10 7.5 Kwh wind turbines for 1 million dollars each then you would have spent 10 million dollars and put out more power with out using 200 acres to do so.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          Well founded fear of Nuclear. Another Dead Zone is being quarantined for something like 300 years.
          BipDBo
          • 3 Years Ago
          I'm sure that it's no coincidence that this facility is being planned while there is great fear over the radiation leak.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          You are overly negative on solar. Yes, it is expensive but it is not like it is an order of magnitude out of the competition. And you need to factor in the advantages of solar: -No pollution. -100% domestic energy source . . . and even for the equipment since you know they are buying Japanese manufactured panels (nice economic stimulus) -The energy is generated right where it is consumed so there are almost no expensive transmission line costs. -Solar provides peak power right when electricity is most in demand . . . hot sunny days when the AC is on -low risk (no coal miners killed, no explosions, no radiation leaks, etc.) When you add in those advantages, solar is becoming competitive. But it is just part of a mix.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree that 50 megaWatts is not huge but consider this. In 1983 the total world production of solar PV was about 23 megaWatts. Last year the total world production was about 23 gigaWatts. (For mathophobes that's a one thousand-fold increase over 1983 production) Solar is growing fast and costs are dropping. It's only a matter of time before solar is cheaper than fossil fuels.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Higher efficiency panels are going into production as well. Boeing has got some 40+ efficiency panels coming online.
          fairfireman21
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          What are they, and need details for resurch The last I checked about a month ago the highest rating solar got was 18%.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Also can't wait until thin film solar can cover the exterior of buildings (maybe even interior walls integrated on top of the drywall panels to capture even MORE natural light from outside shining in, plus recapture energy from when the lights in the rooms are on). Combine that with a rooftop garden with 6 feet of soil, trees, grass, gardens. City building rooftops should ALL be park-like(meaning building owners should choose to be this way, since it is to their benefit, not saying it should be mandated), it would make land values rise, buildings could swing towards energy independence or actually generate more electricity than they use and sell it. If I owned a tall building, doing environmental things to it would BRING money...not take it away. Wouldn't have to pay anyone to shovel bird poop off the roof every year, they'd just live among the trees up there. Could use all the water that seeps through the soil to keep the building at a constant temp and use the water captured for consumption as well, water could also turn a few small turbines on its way down the building to make some more energy usage out of the gravity it was going to follow anyways. Then there's even just having better WINDOWS, like the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZw4bQuq9gI Ok, i'm done with my energy efficient building rant, could keep going!!
      DarylMc
      • 3 Years Ago
      50MW sounds like a lot of power and I used to find it hard to imagine so I will give some car figures to compare. The total peak output of 64 Bugatti Veyron. Or 485 Honda Civics. I wonder if this is better than governments funding handouts to individual home solar setups. Especially with regard to installation and maintenance spread over 50 000 suburban rooftops.
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