Land-constraints and a massive nuclear shutdown have intensified the debate over where to put new electricity generation capacity in Japan. Solar has risen to the forefront, as its panels take to the water.
Earlier this month, the Kyocera, Century Tokyo Leasing, and Ciel et Terre announced their plans to build two floating solar power stations in the Hyogo prefecture in Western Japan. These two solar islands will include an estimated 60 MW of floating solar capacity and will help to fill the gaps left after the 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima nuclear power plant.
These solar projects will follow a similar 70 MW facility that came online in 2013. Also launched by Kyocera, the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant in Southern Japan, this USD 44 million facility consists of 290,000 solar panels spread over 314 acres – approximately the equivalent of 27 baseball stadiums. The electricity that is generated at this facility sells to Kyushu Electric Power Co., the local electric utility company under a national feed-in-tariff program.
Prior to 2011, almost one-third of Japan’s electricity was supplied by nuclear power, with plans to raise this value to 40%. But, in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant meltdowns, the country took a big step back from nuclear. Today, there are no operating nuclear power plants in the country, though two reactors could be restarted in the near future.
For a video of the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant in southern Japan, see this infomercial by Kyocera:
Photo Credit: Photo of Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant by Kyocera.