Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation have announced Kyocera TCL Solar has recently commenced construction of a 13.7MW floating solar farm in Japan.
Originally announced in late 2014 (and originally 13.4MW), the floating solar project will be comprised of approximately 51,000 solar modules that will generate an estimated 16,170 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
The project will provide enough power to meet the electricity needs of nearly 5,000 average households and will avoid around 8,170 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
The power station will be constructed at Yamakura Dam, which is located in Ichihara City in Chiba Prefecture and will cover an area of 180,000m2.
Yamakura isn’t the first floating facility Kyocera has constructed, but it’s by far the biggest. The company also began operation of 1.7MW and 1.2MW floating plants in March 2015, then a 2.3MW solar farm in June.
The Yamakura array is expected to commence operations by the end of March 2018 and electricity generated will be sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). TEPCO is largest electric utility in Japan and the 4th largest electric utility in the world. It’s also the owner of the ill-fated Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
Once completed, the project will be the largest operating floating solar power station anywhere on the planet. How long it will retain that title is unclear. Last year, Brazil’s government announced a 350MW floating solar project at the Balbina hydroelectric plant in the Amazon. However, there’s been little news on the progress of the Balbina project.
Floating solar installations are becoming increasingly popular in countries such as Japan where land is at a premium.
In addition to preserving land, floating solar panel arrays help to curb the growth of algae in dams and reduce evaporation rates. Farmers in Australia have expressed interest in floating solar as evaporation from water storages in agricultural areas is a major issue; with annual losses potentially exceeding 40 per cent of water stored.
Aside from acting as a platform, water has an important role to play in floating solar farm efficiency; with the cooling effect on solar panels enabling more power production.
Another largish floating solar project currently under way is in the UK – United Utilities’ 3MW facility; which is being constructed on Godley reservoir in Hyde, Greater Manchester.