Could Japan’s Floating Solar Plants Be The Future of Green Energy?
Japan, known for pioneering efficient ways to utilize technology, may have hit a goldmine of sustainability. Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation have developed “floating mega solar power plants” that can power up to 920 houses. The innovative placement of the panels in Nishihira and Higashihira Ponds in Kato City maximizes Japan’s limited space while producing safe and clean energy.
The production statistics demonstrate just how revolutionary these new installations are. The 11,250 individual modules have the capacity for 2.9MW and can output 3,3000MWh of power a year. In light of the Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe in 2011, discovering other safe and efficient ways to provide energy to the masses is key.
The usage of land is perhaps the biggest advancement that has been achieved with the completed project. Living sustainably is vital for the island nation’s continued success, and the fact that the arrays do not use the agricultural industry’s arable land. This means that Japan can continue to produce food to maintain a stable population.
Another detail of note is that Nishihira and Higashihira Ponds are water reservoirs. Water cools the solar units which subsequently increases power production. Additionally, the panels shield the water from the sun, which stunts the growth of algae. The buoyant bases are also typhoon-proof, ensuring durability through any natural disaster.
California is also hopping on the floating solar farm bandwagon. The Sonoma Valley is the epicenter of this movement; an estimated 25% of the county’s vineyards have flood protection ponds with ideal conditions for replications of these systems. Napa Valley is following suit with 1,000 pontoon based units.
In terms of green sources of energy, this innovation makes the top of the list. Not only do the aquatic panels leave plenty of acreage for farmers to maintain food production, but they also are more efficient than similar land installations because of the water’s cooling effects. Additionally, reservoirs are wildlife-free areas, so no ecosystems are being destroyed. With such little detriment to the environment, this technological achievement may be a good starting point for the future of renewable power.