Kyocera’s ‘Mega-solar’ floating power plants become online in Japan- FutureEnTech | Technology, Environment, Humanity, Lifestyle

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

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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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