Case Studies > Case Studies


Niigata Megasolar Power Plant

Asia Utility

  • Location:Niigata, Japan
  • Date onstream:2010-08
  • System Capacity:1,000 kWp

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Hirohiko Izumida

Hirohiko Izumida
Niigata Prefecture

I strongly believe that it is very significant that Japan's first operational megasolar power plant is in oil-producing Niigata, and that the electric power generated here in 'Snow Country' compares to any other region. We will promote our efforts to move toward a low-carbon future.

Site Overview

Coordinates 37.9° N, 139.0° E
Average Global Irradiance 1,376 kWh/m2/yr
Average Temperature 13 °C • 55 °F
Average Precipitation 1,844 mm • 72.5 in/yr
Average snowfall 199 cm • 82.8 in/yr

Technical Overview

Panel Type SC80-A (80 W)
Number of panels installed 12,528
Panel angle and Orientation 20° & 30°, South 0°
Output Sep. '10-Nov. '10: 441,120 kWh
CO2 reduction 198,503 kg • 218 tons

Niigata Megasolar

At the installation in Niigata, the panels have been mounted on struts to help keep them clear of snow.


The Niigata Yukigunigata Megasolar Power Plant, employing over 12,500 Solar Frontier CIS modules, is Japan’s first commercial megawatt-scale solar power plant. It is part of a Niigata Prefecture and New Energy Promotion Council subsidized project that is managed by Tohoku Electric Power and owned by Showa Shell Sekiyu – Solar Frontier’s parent company. It began operating on August 31st, 2010 and will generate one million kilowatt hours per year. The generated energy will be sold to local residents through the Tohoku Electric Power Co.


Solar Frontier will use the plant to test the power generating capability of its CIS modules in severe weather conditions. The region is renowned for heavy snowfall and strong winds. To this end, modules have been raised one meter above the ground to avoid being covered by snow. Environmentally-friendly installation and mounting technologies were used to reduce the impact and the amount of energy needed for installation. To test for the optimal position, the modules have been installed at two different angles (20° and 30°).


The power plant, built on Showa Shell Sekiyu’s old Niigata Petroleum Terminal site, will do more than power a prefecture though – with exhibitions and educational sessions for local children, it will help drive forward Niigata’s clean energy mission.

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