A huge floating solar farm will be built on a reservoir in Japan

Japan has been aggressively building solar projects — close to 11 GW in two years — in the wake of the decision to dismantle its nuclear plants following the Fukushima disaster. Now the country is even looking beyond land for places to install solar panels.

A new large floating solar panel farm — supposedly the world’s largest in terms of capacity — will be built on top of the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba prefecture in Japan (see map below). The 13.4 MW solar system will be built by a joint venture created by Japanese electronics giant Kyocera and financing company Century Tokyo Leasing, called Kyocera TCL Solar, and the plant is supposed to be in operation by March of 2016.

Floating solar panels, a project similar to the one that will be built by Kyocera.

Floating solar panels, a project similar to the one that will be built by Kyocera.

The electricity from the project, which will be produced by 50,000 Kyocera solar modules over a 180,000 square meter stretch of water, will be sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company. The modules will be installed on a floating platform.

The marker in the lower right hand corner is the Chiba reservoir.

The marker in the lower right hand corner is the Chiba reservoir, to the east of Tokyo Bay.

Japan has over 71 GW of clean energy projects approved, and 96 percent of those are solar, according to Bloomberg. The country already had a long history in the solar industry before the Fukushima disaster and the implementation of its clean energy incentive program. Japan is home to some of the largest solar panel makers in the world, including Panasonic, Sharp and Solar Frontier (part of Showa Shell). Here’s a list of some of the other solar projects that have been built in Japan in recent years.

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Kyocera to More Than Double Solar Production

Japanese electronics maker Kyocera (s KYO) believes solar’s star is rising, and the company said it plans to expand its solar cell production to keep up with growing global demand, building a new large-scale solar cell manufacturing facility in Yasu City. Kyocera said it will be the company’s largest manufacturing plant in Japan.
The cost of the new facility was not disclosed, but Kyocera said that, combined with its existing Yohkaichi plant, the new site will more than double its annual production of solar cells to 650 megawatts (MW) by March 2012, up from a projected output of 300 MW this year.
Kyocera, which makes fine ceramic and semiconductor parts and telecommunications equipment, said its new solar plant is part of a strategy to continue as a fully integrated solar module manufacturer. The company said it covers the entire production process, from procuring and casting raw silicon to producing solar cells and assembling modules.
Earlier this year, Kyocera reportedly made a deal to help put some sun power into the next-generation Toyota Prius. Solar panels from Kyocera could be used to help power the car’s air conditioning system.
Construction of Kyocera’s new manufacturing plant is scheduled to start in early 2009 and be completed by the end of the year. The first solar cells are expected to start rolling off the production line in the spring of 2010.