Japan Has Plans To Build The World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant

Solar power is a solid source of renewable energy, but the problem some countries face is the lack of unoccupied land on which solar plants could be built on. Japan is among the countries with the least amount of unoccupied land, land that could be spared for building huge solar power plants.

Since out planet is made mostly out of water surfaces, the question arises – could we use water surfaces for solar power plants? Of course, we have, and Japan is one of the countries hosting such plants. The concept isn’t exactly new since there have been similar projects arising in various countries already.

Image Source: Kyocera

The French company, Ciel et Terre, was the first to provide the concept and to begin developing the tech back in 2006. A year after, a floating solar power plant was built in Napa Valley, California. The owner of one of the vineyards wanted an additional source of power but didn’t want to sacrifice a part of their vineyard. So they’ve built a small floating part and placed it on a nearby pond, which enabled them additional power while at the same time they managed to save up precious space.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Kyocera saw the opportunity and become the premiere manufacturer of floating plants. They have already completed three projects, built on the water surfaces near the city of Kobe. The three plants possess the power of 1.7MW, 1.2MW, and 2.3MW. They all have been completed in 2015. Earlier, Kyocera announced building even larger, 7.5MW solar plant, planned for construction on Umenokifurukori reservoir in Japan.

Japan has lots of reservoirs used for agricultural and flood-control purposes, and the country is using its alternatives in the best possible way. Solar panels are known to perform better when placed on the surface of the water. Further, the same panels are stopping sunlight from hitting the water, preventing algae growth.

Kyocera, along with the joint-venture partner Century Tokyo Leasing Corp. along with the help with the original inventors of the technology, Ciel et Terre, announced their plans of building the largest floating solar power plant ever created. The plant is set for construction in Chiba prefecture, 75 kilometers east of Tokyo. It is planned for it to produce up to 13.7MW of power, which is “enough electricity to power approximately 4,970 typical households — while offsetting about 8,170 tons of CO2 emissions annually,” according to Kyocera.

The plant will be made out of 50,904 solar modules in total, each having 270 watts of power. The electricity made will be sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO). Ciel et Terre supplies the mounting platform, with the support modules made out of high-density polyethylene instead of metal.  The installation will reduce water evaporation, slow algae growth, and will not, in any way, impact water quality. The floating solar plant should be operational by the end of March 2018.

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