Kyocera’s ‘Mega-solar’ floating power plants become online in Japan

Kyocera Corporation, the parent and global headquarters
of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine ceramics (also
known as “advanced ceramics”). By combining these engineered materials with
metals and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a
leading supplier of electronic components, printers, copiers, solar power
generating systems, mobile phones, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and
industrial ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2014, the company’s net
sales totaled 1.45 trillion yen (approx. USD14.1 billion). Kyocera appears on
the latest listing of the “Top 100 Global Innovators” by Thomson Reuters, and
is ranked #531 on Forbes magazine’s current “Global 2000” listing of the
world’s largest publicly traded companies.

Credit: Kyocera

For those interested in clean renewable energy, we’re
living in exciting times. Recent news that we’re adding more green energy
capacity every year than that of oil, coal, and gas combined was heralded as
“the beginning of the end” for fossil fuels, and every day it seems there are
new advances in the field of clean, sustainable power. But, in terms of sheer
scale, it’s hard to not be particularly impressed with these massive, solar
energy plants unveiled this week in Japan. But it’s not just the staggering
size of the solar fields that have observers so excited; It’s the fact that
plants this large and this powerful are, in fact, entirely aquatic.
You can easily find solar panels on rooftops; in fields
and even on a plane, but now solar technology has found another way to leave
firm land in the form of two floating solar farms in Japan. Kyocera Corporation
and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation announced this week that their high
profile plans to build two “floating mega-solar power plants” at
Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City in Hyogo Prefecture have been
successfully completed.
The capacity on Nishihira is 1.7MW. Capacity on
Higashihira is 1.2MW. Tom Kenning reported in, which covers the
solar PV supply chain, which, combined, the plants will generate enough to
power 920 households. The electricity generated will be sold to the local
utility, Kansai Electric Power, through Japan’s feed-in-tariff system.
What is the advantage of a “floating” solar
power system design? Kyocera said the cooling effect of the water results in
more electricity generated than with ground-mount and rooftop systems. Also, by
shading the water, they reduce reservoir water evaporation and algae growth. The
platforms use high-density polyethylene, which can withstand ultraviolet rays
and resist corrosion. The floating plants are said to be engineered to
withstand typhoon conditions. Japan has been investing heavily in renewable
power, becoming a top contender in the solar power industry, alongside China, U.S. and Russia. Meanwhile, is expected to complete construction on a
floating atomic power plant by the fall of 2016.


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