Tag Archives: softbank

So, how much solar power is SoftBank producing?

Following on from last night’s post, I checked the data in this story.

The first of two phases of the overall project sees 8,680 Kyocera modules equaling approximately 2.1MW of solar power installed in the southern part of Kyoto City, Japan. This will generate roughly 2.1GWh of electricity annually, which is enough to supply power for approximately 580 households.

A quick Google tells me that the 2.1MW should be written as 2.1MWp, with the ‘p’ for ‘peak’, and a calculation tells me that 2.1GWh/y from 2.1MW works out at an effective 2.7 hours a day, or a perhaps easier to understand form is to state the output as 5.8MWh/day. Phase two will double the size, so provide the power for 1,160 households, or almost 0.2% of the households in Kyoto City. At that size it feels more like a PR exercise and a technology demonstration than a serious attempt to supply renewable power.

On the other hand, SB Energy Corp will see an income of 42 yen * 5,800 kWh * 2 or just under half a million yen per day, or just over 175 million yen per year. Google suggests a US retail price of around $400 per panel, so even at retail prices, this park might cost around 550 million yen to kit out, thus even allowing for all the other costs and variables, I would hazard a guess that it will be significantly less than 10 years to pay back the investment.

Note that according to the feed-in tariff law, this rate is guaranteed (or can it be renegotiated?) to last 20 years for large-scale 10kW+ plants, but only 10 years for smaller domestic-scale production. Furthermore, large plants get paid even for electricity they use to run the installation; domestic owners only get paid for the excess they send back to the grid. Now I think about it, I wonder if SoftBank might plonk a data centre or a mobile transmitter on site and get paid to run it?

You can also monitor TEPCO’s larger scale megasolar plants at Komekurayama, Ukishima and Ougishima online.

Looking at Komekurayama on the rather sunny 29th of June, it has a peak rating of 13MW judging by the left-hand legend, and generated 65.890MWh that day, which works out at a respectable effective 5 hours per day of output. However, the rather wet 1st of July managed just 11.280MWh, or the equivalent of a mere 52 minutes of peak output.

PS: I wonder how the reaction will be if/when one of these projects uses Chinese panels?

PPS: I’ll have to do a post to clarify my stance, but I reckon it’s similar to many people here; nukes are needed for now at least, financially-viable renewables are good, as is separating generation and transmission, and last but not least a Sir John Harvey-Jones or Gordon Ramsay needs to rampage through KEPCO, TEPCO and the rest with a very sharp axe!