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Midweek Update: August 27, 2014; Vol.3, No.32, August 25, 2014

 Midweek Update Posted; Major Article on Power Company Consolidation

Pub Note-8-25

Image by Kazuko Kojima

Since Japan introduced its feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme in 2012, the installation of photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems has advanced across the country. Among renewable energy technologies, PV systems are one of quickest and easiest systems to install. Since most areas in Japan that are suitable for large-scale solar power plants are, according to some reports, already utilized or being planned for use, installers are starting to look for other places to set these systems. One idea is solar sharing, a method of generating electricity on farmland using solar panels mounted to a raised framework, with crops growing underneath. Below is a story from a company that worked on developing a solar sharing project.

"I was completely unaware of all of the hidden problems until I started accepting solar sharing orders," says Yoshihiro Iwahori, president of Hatsudenman Co., a company operating in the design, construction, and distribution of PV systems. Hatsudenman now accepts orders for the design and construction of solar sharing projects, a task that involves installing solar panels at regular, spaced intervals above farm crops. In essence, solar sharing is a land sharing system between agriculture and electricity generation."

To install the solar panels, several poles are erected and frames for holding the PV modules are attached horizontally to the poles. Unlike large-scale systems, which seek to maximize generation capacity per area, solar sharing systems require empty space between the modules to allow sunlight to pass through and reach the ground.

Solar sharing was developed in Japan by a machinery engineer who was interested in both farming and solar power generation. At the time, there were no commercially available materials for building a solar sharing system, so the first systems were all designed and assembled from scratch.

Currently, farmland conversions are approved by the agricultural committee in each region. Iwahori says, "It was a tough negotiation because not every committee understands the ministry's guidelines." It took Iwahori almost three months to complete negotiations with the agricultural committee in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The second hurdle is related to the solar cell module. According to Iwahori, solar cell modules for solar sharing need to be lightweight, as they are installed in high locations. They also need to be small to reduce the influence of shadows cast by the modules themselves and wind hitting the modules. As the output of modules for home use has been increasing, larger modules with an output of about 200 watts are diffused. Although we need an output of about 100 watts, major manufacturers have not marketed modules with suitable size and output for solar sharing.

Smart Energy Universe has revamped the layout for articles in the Oil and Gas category and is grouping articles together in the following areas:

  • Pipelines
  • Exploration and Production
  • LNG/Shale
  • Financials/Operations

This will make it faster to locate articles in the area readers are looking for. We have received positive responses on this change.

Similarly, SEU is planning to restructure Utility News and Smart Grid Categories and rearrange news items appropriate to these Categories. You will be informed soon when we make this change.

In addition this week’s edition of Smart Energy Universe features all our popular features:

This Week in Climate Change –find it in the Spotlight section.This section has a Roundup of some of the articles reporting on Climate Change in this weeks’ edition. A brief synopsis of the article is presented here - Please go on to read the complete article for details

“Editor’s Choice” has the ‘Feature Articles’ highlighted in green to make them easy find. To read the articles click on the Spotlight or appropriate Category Button this will take you to the page with the Spotlight or Feature Articles. Be sure to read Editors Choice to catch to catch up with the top happenings of the week.

SEU’s Virtual Town Hall: This week’s question: “Should Ofcom of U.K. relax smart meter interoperability requirements” drew interesting results. Please read the results in the Spotlight section. We will post the results tomorrow, as responses continue to come in.

Read the responses to get the industry pulse on the issue. (Spotlight).

SEU “Viewpoint”:This week’s Viewpoint discusses “Is EPA Heading towards a Decade-Long Court Fight on its recent Power Plant Carbon Emission Regulation Proposal”. We have captured the pulse of the industry in this article.

There are several interesting articles in the Spotlight section:

Sun’s Activity Influences Natural Climate Change (Spotlight): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a rogue agency that has long outlived its effectiveness and should be dismantled and replaced, says recent report. (Spotlight)

Connected Management is the Next Megatrend in M2M (Spotlight): The global wireless M2M market performed well in 2013, displaying growth in all major world regions and vertical segments. Berg Insight estimates that shipments of cellular M2M devices increased by 13.5 percent to a new record level of 68.0 million units. (Spotlight)

Climate Change Reflected in Altered Missouri River Flow (Spotlight): Climate change is altering the Missouri River stream flow, wreaking havoc on farmland, new report says

Wind Energy Costs at all time low (Spotlight): The Wind Program and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, which showcases advances in U.S. wind energy technologies, accompanied by an all-time-low for wind energy prices.

Recycling Old Batteries into Solar Cells (Spotlight): Proposal could divert a dangerous waste stream while producing low-cost photovoltaics. If this can be commercialized, all the old waste lead batteries will be doing double-duty as solar cells.

The Climate Bubble (Spotlight): We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked, says Henry Paulson, former Treasury Secretary.


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