Nanao, high tech solar energy
Heavy rain, strong winds and snow… Installing a solar power plant in Nanao in Japan was a technological challenge.
Since the earthquake in eastern Japan in 2011, our energy mix has shifted toward more renewable energies.
Of these, solar is the one with the highest expectations riding on it.
Total Solar built its first Japanese solar power plant on the Noto Peninsula, in Nanao to be exact, in partnership with affiliate SunPower and ISE Group.
ISE opted for solar energy following the severe earthquake in the Kanto region in 2011.
We are Asia's leading egg producer and we decided to produce solar energy on unused land at our site.
We went looking for the best partner that we could trust and found a company in France which could deliver both safety and leading-edge technology: Total.
But installing a solar power plant on the Noto Peninsula was a technological challenge.
The Nanao site overlooks the sea and experiences heavy rain, strong winds and snow.
Plus, because this is Japan, there are earthquake risks.
Building a plant to withstand the elements for more than 20 years was also a crucial point.
To adapt to the low solar resource, Total Solar brought in its affiliate SunPower, a specialist in high-efficiency solar panels.
The project wasn't viable using regular solar technology.
The panels manufactured by Total's affiliate SunPower are very efficient, allowing us to build the plant in the Hokuriku region.
Although technology was crucial, the project also had to reckon with very strong traditions in Japan.
Total has had business relations with Japanese companies for over 60 years.
I think this shared history is a crucial foundation.
Regarding traditions, customs and beliefs, Total listened to the community and showed genuine respect.
In particular there, on that hill, home to "kami", or spirits, for more than 500 years.
That makes this a potent "power spot".
Building a solar plant on such a powerful site is perhaps the smartest thing we could have done!
The Nanao power plant began generating electricity in March 2017.
Equipped with SunPower panels, it provides affordable, reliable, clean energy to 9,000 Japanese homes and reflects Total's ambition of becoming the responsible energy major.