Solar moves off land

A huge floating solar farm will be built on a reservoir in Japan

Japan has been aggressively building solar projects — close to 11 GW in two years — in the wake of the decision to dismantle its nuclear plants following the Fukushima disaster. Now the country is even looking beyond land for places to install solar panels.

A new large floating solar panel farm — supposedly the world’s largest in terms of capacity — will be built on top of the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba prefecture in Japan (see map below). The 13.4 MW solar system will be built by a joint venture created by Japanese electronics giant Kyocera and financing company Century Tokyo Leasing, called Kyocera TCL Solar, and the plant is supposed to be in operation by March of 2016.

Floating solar panels, a project similar to the one that will be built by Kyocera.
Floating solar panels, a project similar to the one that will be built by Kyocera.

The electricity from the project, which will be produced by 50,000 Kyocera solar modules over a 180,000 square meter stretch of water, will be sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company. The modules will be installed on a floating platform.

The marker in the lower right hand corner is the Chiba reservoir.
The marker in the lower right hand corner is the Chiba reservoir, to the east of Tokyo Bay.

Japan has over 71 GW of clean energy projects approved, and 96 percent of those are solar, according to Bloomberg. The country already had a long history in the solar industry before the Fukushima disaster and the implementation of its clean energy incentive program. Japan is home to some of the largest solar panel makers in the world, including Panasonic, Sharp and Solar Frontier (part of Showa Shell). Here’s a list of some of the other solar projects that have been built in Japan in recent years.