IPlantE News

A new floating solar farm in Japan

24th Apr 2018

A floating solar farm, one of the biggest in the world at 180,000 square metres, has begun operation in Japan.

Aiming to cut emission by 26% by 2030 from 2013 levels as part of the Paris climate agreement, the project is part of a major shift towards renewables following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
The 51,000 solar panels sit on top of Yamakura dam in the Chiba Prefecture, and should generate enough electricity to power 4,970 typical households each year.

Installing solar panels on water means they operate at lower temperatures than land-based panels, making them more efficient, say experts of the technology developed by France-based Ciel et Terre.
But while he construction of the plant has been positively received, plans in other parts of the Japan have caused controversy as developers plan to cut down vast forested areas to install solar panels.

Japan has had a major reassessment of its approach towards energy following the Fukushima catastrophe, resulting in the closure of several nuclear reactors, giving local authorities free reign to seek out private investment in renewables. Money has poured into solar, wind and micro-hydroelectric.

Despite this determined new policy, Japan still lags far behind the likes of China in its renewable growth. The Three Gorges Group is building the world’s biggest floating solar power plant in the Eastern province of Anhui; the $151m project is set to go live in May this year. The same group were behind the world’s largest hydroelectric project, The Three Gorges Dam, which symbolises China’s renewed push in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Seychelles has also laid down plans to produce Africa’s first utility scale solar facility, as it targets 15% of energy being from renewable resources by 2030.

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