The power plant is set to be constructed in a joint venture by solar company Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing, it was announced yesterday (1 July).

The solar farm will generate enough electricity to power around 8,100 local houses. The new plant will become the largest solar power installation in Japan’s Kyoto prefecture.

Today’s announcement marks the second abandoned golf course that Kyocera will convert into a clean power plant, after the company recently revealed plans for a 92 MW solar farm in Kagoshima. The site was also originally designed as a golf course, but abandoned more than 30 years ago. 

The Kagoshima solar farm will offset around 35,730 tonnes of CO2 per year and generate enough electricity for around 30,500 homes. It is expected to begin operating in 2017.

Par for the course?

The real-estate boom of the 1990s and 2000s and subsequent recession has led to a surplus of abandoned golf projects around the world, especially in Japan and the US.

Several America cities in states such as Florida, Utah, Kansas and Minnesota are having public discussion and considering proposals on how best to repurpose closed golf courses.

Kyocera claims solar can provide a particularly productive and environmentally friendly use for defunct golf courses, thanks to their expansive land mass, high sun exposure, and a low concentration of shade trees.

Solar boom

The two projects are part of a wave of solar installations swwping the Asian country. Last year Japan began the construction of its largest solar power plant, a 231 MW facility.

Kyocera also announced earlier this year plans to develop the world’s largest floating solar array. The 13.4MW solar farm on the Yamakura Dam will offset an estimated 7,800 tonnes of CO2 when it is in operation in 2016.

Japan currently produces around 10% of its electricity from renewable sources, with a goal of using 20% renewables by 2020. Japan’s use of fossil fuels has also spiked in recent years, following environmental and health concerns with its nuclear power stations after the Fukashima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Earlier this week (30 June) it was reported China would commit to producing 20% of its primary energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Kepiang confirmed the country’s official emissions contribution to ahead of the United Nations Paris climate change conference, stating China would cap emissions by 2030 and aim to introduce carbon reductions sooner.

Matt Field

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