Japan’s Farmers To Benefit From Rooftop Solar Power

Japan’s farming sector is making the switch to solar power, with the nation’s agricultural body announcing plans to spend AU$93 million installing 30 megawatts of solar panels on the rooftops of livestock barns and distribution centres.

The project is the initial phase of a plan by Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (or Zen-Noh, for short), and Mitsubishi, to ultimately provide 200 megawatts of solar power capacity on farming facilities nationwide by the middle of 2015.

Kyocera Corporation has been chosen by Zen-Noh to supply panels, as well as build and maintain all solar power systems for the 30-megawatt project.

The plan, set to become one of the largest solar projects in the nation, is aimed at reinvigorating Japanese farming communities and promoting the use of renewable energy in a country still reeling from the impact of the Fukushima disaster; which has seen a seismic shift in support away from nuclear energy in favour of clean power solutions, such as solar and wind.

Under the contract, Kyocera will supply approximately 124,000 242W Kyocera solar modules, to be installed at 80 separate Zen-Noh facilities across Japan.

Generating enough power to supply the electricity needs of 8,300 typical homes, the rooftop systems will offset nearly 11,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The Kyocera order is worth 8.5 billion yen (AU$93 million). Zen-Noh and Mitsubishi Corporation have created the JAMC Solar Energy Company, which will oversee operations at the 80 sites and sell power to local utilities, taking advantage of Japan’s generous feed in tariff arrangement of AU$0.43 per kilowatt hour.

In a statement, Kyocera says it won the contract to supply and engineer the 30-megawatt scheme “based on the high-quality of its multicrystalline silicon solar modules, and the Kyocera Group’s comprehensive strength and engineering technology to install a large number of solar power generating systems in a short period of time on a wide range of agricultural facilities with diverse roof shapes.”