Favorable government policies and incentives are continuously pushing the development of solar sector in Japan. But the development of ground-mounted solar systems is still a challenge there due to lack of vacant land. Kyocera has, therefore, come out with an alternative plan of installing floating solar panels over ponds.
According to a recent announcement, Kyocera plans to build the world’s largest floating solar power plant. The company would be working with Century Tokyo Leasing and French solar systems manufacturer Ciel et Terre to install around 11,000 photovoltaic modules over Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Both the systems together would generate around 2.9MW of electricity, which is expected to power 920 homes. The 1.7MW installation at Nishihira Pond, when commissioned, would be the largest in the world, Kyocera claims.
Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing joined hands to establish an LLC in August 2012. The joint venture aims to take advantage of Japan’s feed-in tariff system, which commenced in September 2012 and led to construction of several utility-scale solar power plants in the country. Since 2012, Kyocera TCL Solar has built 28 solar power plants, of which 11 plants are already commissioned.
Since land availability is a major concern in Japan, Kyocera TCL Solar, after gaining experience in the ground-mounted and roof-top solar installations, recently started the floating solar power plant business to utilize the country’s abundant water reservoirs. Kyocera TCL Solar plans to develop floating installations for reservoirs in the country, totaling approximately 60MW by the end of March 31, 2015. The floating solar platforms would be developed and patented by Ciel et Terre, which has a proven track record of more than 3 years in the operation of floating power plants in France.
In addition to operation and maintenance of floating power plants, supply of modules and other equipment would also be undertaken by the Kyocera Group. The platforms for the erection of the modules would be supplied by Ciet et Terre along with providing the technical support during the module installation. Century Tokyo Leasing would provide the finance for the installations.
Floating solar power plants are not new to the world. Several small-scale floating solar power plants are operational in France and California. India also plans to build a 50MW floating solar power plant in the southern state of Kerala.
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