Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Made in Japan (part 3)

Back in November 2008, while out sightseeing at the dammed lake reservoir near Miharu, we stopped at a hotel spa place that has a very good tofu cafe that sells all sorts of yummy food entirely (almost) made from tofu or derivatives (even the donuts!).

Anyway, while walking about I noticed that somehow they had also built an observatory (it gets very dark up here in the mountains away from any town).  

Next to the observatory was what at first glance appeared to be a bus shelter (err.. because it had buses parked under it).  In fact it was a sizeable solar array!

It consists of 8 rows of 14 x 167W 48 cell (23.2V MPP) Kyocera panels (I could read the info plates on the undersides).  From the date stamps on the panels it seems to have been in operation since 2002.  The nominal output is 18.7kW - maybe enough to offset most of the power used by the small hotel, observatory and cafe.

The electronics were all in a sort of phone box shaped hut next to the back row.

Travelling from the remote town of Takayama through the mountains to Matsumoto I saw quite a few new looking home based PV systems but many more old looking solar hot water systems.  These types of evacuated tube or flat plate collectors have been popular for decades with the Japanese.

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