JUL 05, 2015 5:35 PM PDT

Japan Is Turning Abandoned Links Into Solar Powershares

WRITTEN BY: Andrew J. Dunlop
In the 1990's and 2000's there was a golf course building boom going on in Japan, but not surprisingly, that ended up leaving a lot of communities saddled with golf courses that weren't financially viable. So many of them are now closed and sitting vacant and unused, like one in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The Japanese firm Kyocera has decided to put one of these abandoned courses to a much better use. They will be converting it to a 23-megawatt (MW) solar power plant.

A plan to convert an abandoned golf course in Fukushima into a solar farm

Ever since the Fukushima melt down following the tsunami in 2011, the Japanese government has been on a massive campaign of developing as much solar energy production as possible, due to a public outcry to close all of Japan's remaining nuclear power plants. In an effort to replace this generating capacity the Japanese government has passed a law stating that it will buy solar power generated for the next nineteen years at a fixed price. Ever since this law was passed, solar farms large and small have been springing up all over the country. With this golf course transformation, and a number of other projects Kyocera is getting in on the action.

By taking on the construction of this solar farm, Kyocera is building on its own tradition. The abandoned golf course where the construction is taking place is in the Fushimi Ward of Kyoto Prefecture, the same area where Kyocera created its first major solar energy research center in the mid-1970s. Kyocera proudly states that this new plant will be the largest solar power installation in Kyoto Prefecture. It is estimated that the new plant will generate about 26,312 megawatt hours of electricity a year. The power the new solar farm generates will be sold to the local electric utility, Kansai Electric Power Co., as part Japan's pro-solar program. According to Kyocera, this will be enough electricity to power approximately 8,100 typical local households, based on an average annual use of 3,254.4kWh per household.



The construction of the new solar farm began on June 28, and apparently Kyocera plans to continue this trend. They recently announced, that they will be creating an even larger 92MW solar generating plant at a site in Kagoshima Prefecture. This project will also be the transformation abandoned golf course. The Kagoshima site was designated as a golf course over 30 years ago, but like many of the golf courses built in Japan during that period, it suffered from under-use and under-funding, and eventually became abandoned.

This trend may not be limited to Japan. In the United States, cities in states including Florida, Utah, Kansas and Minnesota are also finding themselves in possession of golf courses that have ended up being unsustainable and abandoned. They are all currently having public discussions and considering proposals on how best to repurpose golf courses that have fallen into disuse, and transforming them into solar farms is certainly a popular idea. Abandoned golf courses are usually prime sites for this kind of conversion as they are characterized by expansive land mass, high sun exposure and a low concentration of shade trees.



(Source: phys.org)
About the Author
  • Andrew J. Dunlop lives and writes in a little town near Boston. He's interested in space, the Earth, and the way that humans and other species live on it.
You May Also Like
SEP 07, 2020
Neuroscience
Researchers Identify 5 Kinds of Cat Owners
SEP 07, 2020
Researchers Identify 5 Kinds of Cat Owners
Conservationists have long been concerned about the number of animals caught by domestic cats. In the US alone, estimate ...
SEP 12, 2020
Earth & The Environment
90% of protected wild areas are fragmented
SEP 12, 2020
90% of protected wild areas are fragmented
Are protected areas even helpful is they’re so disjointed that wildlife can’t move between them? That’ ...
OCT 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
A New Way of Building Houses: 3-D Printing with Clay
OCT 02, 2020
A New Way of Building Houses: 3-D Printing with Clay
Our ancestors had a long history of building dwelling structures using clay and plant-based fibrous materials. Even thes ...
OCT 26, 2020
Microbiology
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
OCT 26, 2020
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
Trees rely on a network of fungal friends for good health. Communities of trees can share nutrients and other essentail ...
OCT 28, 2020
Earth & The Environment
How detective geologists are tracing illegal sand
OCT 28, 2020
How detective geologists are tracing illegal sand
To most of us, sand is something that we likely only think about while at the beach. But for people who build things, es ...
NOV 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
Taking a Virtual Walk in a Forest Altered by Climate Change
NOV 17, 2020
Taking a Virtual Walk in a Forest Altered by Climate Change
For some people, it's easier to grasp the magnitude of a problem once it can be visualized.
Loading Comments...