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Another Groundbreaking Eco-Power Project: Japan’s Floating Solar Power Plant

When we talk about taking innovation to the next level, we like to point to examples like the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project, the architectural project designed to use the ocean’s currents for power. It’s projects like these that show just how powerful the human imagination can be—and can show how to combat climate change in a meaningful way.

And that’s why this post is all about another project in eco-power from Japan. Because Japan has such isolated, mountainous terrain, it can be somewhat difficult to produce and pay for the energy that the country needs. Their solution? Build massive floating solar panels on large bodies of water! Here’s the video of what it will look like when it’s completed.

The companies Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation have begun plans for what they say will be the world’s largest floating solar installation based on the amount of power produced. They plan on building a giant geometric block of 51,000 individual solar modules floating on the surface of the Yamakura Dam reservoir, about 70km (43 miles) from Tokyo. They’ll cover an area of 180,000 square meters. And once they’re up and running in 2018, they’ll have a capacity of 13.7 megawatts! That’s a lot of power!

Japan has had issues with energy in the past, but in today’s world, the country is feeling the pressure even more. According to Quartz, after the Fukushima incident in 2011, Japan had to abandon many of their nuclear power plants; in a country without energy resources like coal or oil, this left them with very few power options. Even though some of the nuclear plants are back online, they aren’t producing enough power for the high-tech, energy-hungry culture of Japan.

By investing heavily in renewables, and particularly those that utilize space on rooftops or lakes, Japan is trying to become less reliant on imports. And the advocates of floating solar say that this project in Yamakura has several benefits already. It uses “dead” space on the surface of water bodies, and it is easy to assemble. Rather than using heavy machinery required for ground-mounted installations, the panels are clipped together and pushed out from the bank of the lake.

Projects like these are not only beneficial for the countries that make them, but will be beneficial for the world in general once they are up and running. They seem so simple in hindsight that it’s hard to believe we haven’t tried something like this before! That’s the power of innovation and creativity at work!

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