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The World's Largest Floating Solar Power Plants Will Be Japan's

Sep 30, 2014 04:48 PM EDT
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Japan may soon be getting a little wider if its solar power industry has anything to say about it. With the island country short on landmass, renewable energy companies are making plans to extend Japan's coasts with massive and interlocking barges of solar panels.

According to a statement made Monday from the companies Kyocera, Century Tokyo, and Ciel Terre Japan, one of their new floating solar power stations will have a capacity of 1.7 megawatts alone, making it the largest floating solar power plant ever seen.

A second 1.2-megawatt facility is scheduled to begin operations alongside the larger station in the prefecture of Hyogo sometime next April, according to Ciel Terre, which will be providing the floating bases of these next-generation power plants. (Scroll to read on...)

[Kyocera ad campaign]

Thanks to the naturally cooling characteristics of a shoreline breeze and seawater, the companies behind this project are claiming that the panels will boast a higher output than the countless solar farms that already cover a great deal of Japan's rooftops and concrete stretches. However, that remains to be seen, as some have raised concerns about the cloud cover over Western Japan, where Hyogo is located.

According to Bloomberg News, Kyocera and Century Tokyo established their solar power plant venture more than two years ago, and have been in the midst of developing an estimated 93 megawatts of solar power panel stations ever since. So far, 22 megawatts worth of plants have already begun operations.

However, spokeswoman Sanae Iwasaki told Bloomberg that the venture aims to develop another 60 megawatts in floating solar energy alone (an estimated 30 stations with two megawatts of capacity each) in the coming years.

This may all be part of a larger aim for Japan to make a quiet transition from nuclear power reliance to clean solar energy by 2030. That aim was first announced in 2011, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), after the Japanese government admitted that concerns about potentially destructive atomic power in an earthquake and tsunami-harried country were valid and noted by the State.

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