By Jason Hahn
Japan has about 146,000 square miles, which is roughly the size of the state of Montana. The difference is that while Montana is home to about 1 million people, Japan squeezes about 128 million people on its land. This lack of space creates a conundrum for a country that has ambitions to wean itself off of nuclear power and rely more on clean energy. Where can such clean-energy projects be built? On the water, according to Kyocera Corp. and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp.
The two companies are partnering to build two massive solar power islands that will float on two reservoirs (or “ponds,” as the announcement refers to them) and generate about 2.9 megawatts of energy.
One of the “water-mounted mega solar power plants” will be built to reside on the surface of Nishihira pond. It will generate about 1.7 megawatts of energy, which would make it the world’s largest floating solar plant, according to the announcement. The second floating solar power plant will be built on Dongping pond, and it will generate about 1.2 megawatts of clean energy. Work on this project is set to begin in September, with a target finish date of April 2015.
The combined 2.9-megawatt capacity of these two floating solar power plants would be enough to power anywhere between 483 to 967 American households, according to a Wolfram Alpha query.
The joint venture between Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing aims to eventually churn out 60 megawatts of solar power from 30 floating stations, each with about 2 megawatts of capacity, according to a spokeswoman quoted by Bloomberg.