Japan Turns Golf Courses into Solar Farms

It’s all about repurposing. At least, that looks to be the case for Japan’s energy grid.

Beth Schademann, ECS’s Publications Specialist, recently came across a Business Insider article detailing Japan’s initiative to turn abandoned golf courses into solar power plants.

Japan’s Kyocera Corporation is taking the unused green space and making clean, renewable solar farms. They’re starting off big with a 23 megawatt solar plant that will produce enough energy to power around 8,100 households.

And they’re not stopping there. After their first project goes live in 2017, the company will go full force into their 92 megawatt solar plant project that is expected to power over 30,000 households.

Japan’s abandoned golf courses are prime real estate for solar farms, and there’s no shortage of potential here.

In a pretty short period of time—between the late 1990s and early 200s—Japan opened just under 2,000 golf courses. A golf course’s size can vary pretty dramatically, but typically range from 30 acres all the way up to 200 acres. With this in mind, Japan is hosting anywhere between 60,000 and 400,000 acres of golf land, most of which is unused.

While golf was once a popular sport in Japan, giving the Japanese a way to show status, the sports popularity has plummeted more than 40 percent since that late 1980s. The transformation of the unused space into solar farms as a critical step for the country.

Strides in renewable energy such as this have been extremely necessary for Japan’s grid since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Prior to this incident, Japan was holding strong at 30 percent nuclear-power reliance. Since the disaster, Japan turned to fossil fuels to replace nuclear, which resulted in high electricity prices and surging carbon emission levels.

Kyocera Corporation hopes that by repurposing this unused golf land, they can help propel Japan’s grid toward a renewable future.

Phoenix_2015_homeWe’re gearing up for our fifth international ECS Electrochemical Energy Summit (E2S), which will be focused around solar critical issues and renewable energy.

Make sure to join us at the 228th ECS Meeting in Phoenix this October to attend this program.

Registration for this meeting is now open!


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