In March 2017, we started up our first solar power plant in Japan in Nanao, located on the Noto Peninsula on the country’s west coast. Built over 25 hectares, it generates enough power to serve 9,000 Japanese households through more than 80,000 high efficiency SunPower solar panels.
Location: Nanao, Noto Peninsula, Japan
Partners: ISE Foods group, Total Solar/SunPower
Start-up: March 2017
Installed capacity: 27 megawatt-peak (MWp)
the number of Japanese households supplied with solar power from the Nanao plant
Japan is diversifying its energy mix, with Total at its side! Since the 2011 Fukushima disaster and the ensuing shut-down of the country’s nuclear power plants, the Japanese government has introduced policies to encourage the development of renewable energies. It has set itself the goal of increasing the share of solar photovoltaic (PV) in its energy mix to 7% by 2030.
It was with this in mind that the Nanao PV power plant was built. The first Total solar farm in Japan, it was constructed on brownfield land owned by the agri-food group ISE, a project partner.
The project is a technological marvel, mainly because of the geological and climate constraints. Located on the coast, the site is exposed to the risk of earthquakes and experiences heavy rainfall as well as strong winds and snow. The challenge was therefore to build a solar plant on a small site that could effectively generate power despite low levels of sunshine and withstand the elements for more than 20 years. Total responded by using SunPower solar panels, which are renowned for their reliability and long-term performance. They can produce 45% more energy than conventional solar panels, meaning the plant achieves high output despite limited sunshine, which is crucial for the viability of the project.
The start-up of the Nanao power plant marks an important milestone in our history in Japan, where we have been operating for 60 years. This history is one of the cornerstones of our future in the country and helps strengthen our relationships with Japanese companies and civil society. “Total has always listened to the people of Japan and respected our traditions, beliefs and customs,” said Yukihiro Akimoto, Chairman of the ISE-Total-SunPower joint venture.
In line with this, when constructing the plant, we protected a hill considered to be one of the most sacred places in Japan. Tradition has it that for 500 years, it has been the home of kami, revered spirits in the Shinto religion.
Following the start-up of Nanao, we have kicked off work on a new site on the east coast of Japan in Miyako (Iwate prefecture), where we are building a second plant with an equivalent capacity. This is a further sign that Japan’s energy mix is entering a new era, which Total will support each step of the way.