‘Solar Islands’ helping reduce reliance on nuclear power in Japan
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Two very large floating solar power plants or ‘solar islands’ have recently been completed in Japan. The 11,250 modules are expected to generate 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) per year which is enough to power around 1,000 homes. Japan’s population of around 127 million has a heavy reliance on nuclear power for its energy needs. However over the last few years, the country has managed to double its solar power capacity.

The push to reduce reliance on nuclear power came after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Before the incident, around 30% of the country’s power was nuclear and there were plans to increase this to 40%. Public confidence in nuclear power was shattered after the disaster and since then there has been a push to find other means of producing power.

Solar technology has been around for a while now but in a country like Japan, where land space is scarce and expensive, finding land to fit enormous solar farms can be tricky. This is where solar islands come in. The two recently completed solar islands were built in lakes and addition to saving land space they are typhoon safe as they are already water proof. Another benefit from solar islands is that the water they float on actually cools the panels, making them up to 11% more efficient than land based modules. They have also proven to reduce evaporation in lakes and promote healthy algae growth.

Last modified on Friday, 01 May 2015 16:10

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