nis courts. Because Yabasekihanto is a lively local
landmark, the project team wanted to make sure
the solar plant would be seen as a useful innovation—rather than an inconvenience.
During the application process, Kyocera added
public amenities to the project scope that would
be useful in case of an emergency, including solar
power-supply equipment and solar streetlights with
clocks. The organization chose to include this
equipment based on its experience during the 2011
earthquake, when large swaths
of the affected region lost power.
During that crisis, mobile communication base stations and mobile
power source vehicles helped people charge their cellphones and
connect with loved ones.
“The emergency power-supply
equipment includes cables that are
compliant with all mobile phone
types, as well as a flashlight, radio
and batteries,” says Norio Nakamura, Kyocera Corp., Tokyo,
Japan. “We provided the keys to
open the equipment boxes to the
manager of the facility for use in
times of disaster.”
The project scope also included an elevated observation deck where year-round visitors can view the
field of more than 33,000 solar modules with the
picturesque Lake Biwa in the background.
“As people in the community have a strong connection with Yabasekihanto Island, we made our
best efforts to meet their requests through much
dialogue,” Mr. Nakamura says.
The observation deck in particular helped the
project team educate the community about the
benefits of solar power—and build backing for the
project. The team put up a fence to keep children
from wandering into the construction site, but the
viewing station allowed visitors of all ages to safely
watch and learn.
“As we constructed the plant adjacent to a park,
we made special considerations in order to prevent
children from being able to enter the plant area,
while also allowing children to see clean energy as
something close at hand,” says Mr. Nakamura.
In addition to educating the public, the team
had to proactively navigate ecological issues. The
project site is designated as a special zone of
the Biwako Quasi-National Park,
which meant the plant’s equipment had to be constructed using
colors that fit within the surrounding natural environment, says Katsuhiko Onuma, construction site
manager, Shiga Yabasekihanto
Mega Solar Power Plant, Kyocera
Communication Systems Co. Ltd.,
“Based on the Natural Park Act,
Shiga Prefecture requested that
installed equipment be painted a
dark brown color,” he says. “How-
ever, as darker colors reduce the
efficiency of equipment, such as
inverters, we carried out multiple
discussions with the department
in charge at Shiga Prefecture and
designed the surrounding fence with a dark brown
color and the equipment with a lighter color.”
Keeping the equipment in harmony with the rest
of the park was one component of Shiga Prefec-
ture’s efforts to support the national government’s
goal of maintaining the natural landscape and
conserving the area’s biological diversity. Given the
sensitive nature of the surrounding environment,
the project team also had to conduct an environ-
mental impact assessment on animals and plants
inhabiting the site.
The assessment revealed four types of species
and plants that were important to the ecosystem,
from companies to
construct the plant.
Kyocera and Kyocera
TCL Solar jointly
apply for the project
and are selected.
Installation of solar
Installation of all
Start of electricity
sales to local utility.
plant is the