Japan can literally come up with anything. The world’s leading country in the field of technology, the island nation is building the world’s largest floating solar farm.
Kyocera, an electronics giant headquartered in Kyoto, said that work on the farm has already begun and is expected to be completed by 2018.
Emerging in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, the Yamakura dam power plant will have more than 50,000 solar photovoltaic panels covering an area of 180,000 sq m.
An artist’s impression of the Yamakura dam solar power farm.
Though much smaller as compared to land-based plants, the Yamakura plant will be the world’s biggest on the water.
Once completed, the 13.7MW Yamakura dam solar power plant will be able to supply electricity to nearly 5,000 households.
Floating solar power plants are not uncommon in Japan. The country started building solar farms on water following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and already have several of them now. One major reason behind building floating solar farms is the shortage of space. Japan is just 3.78 lakh sq km in area, with a population density of 336 persons per sq km.
Japan’s dependence on nuclear power plants came at the centre of a public debate following the Fukushima disaster. Around 54 of the nation’s nuclear reactors were shut down; they used to provide about 30 per cent of the nation electricity.
Following the shut down of the power plants Japan’s dependence on fossil fuel increased. The problem is that Japan has to import all of it.
It is the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, second-largest coal importer, and third-largest net importer of crude oil and oil products. Since fossil fuels contribute to environmental pollution, its use in Japan both hits the economy as well as the environment.
Kyocera is building the Yamakura solar farm in a joint venture with Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. The project was initiated in October 2014, when the Public Enterprises Agency of Chiba Prefecture publicly sought companies to construct and operate a floating solar power plant to help reduce environmental impact.
Workers work on a floating solar power farm built by Kyocera. Bloomberg News
Technological advancements ensured that the main challenge – keep wiring away from the water and put the inverters – was dexterously handled.
Kyocera, which has built three floating solar farms, first announced this project in October 2014.