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    An abandoned golf course in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture will soon have a new life as a solar farm. Once construction is completed in 2018, The 92-MW Kanoya Osaki Rolling Solar Hills project is expected to provide power for approximately 30,500 local households.

    The sport of golf is in decline across much of the world, with Japan in particular seeing a drop in participation of up to 40% since the days of peak golf popularity in the 1990s. Golf courses are expensive to maintain and take remarkable amounts of water to keep green, so with fading interest in the sport, it’s getting harder for the course owners to stay in business. Over the past decade, some of Japan’s golf courses, no longer profitable for their owners, have been razed into residential developments. Flat or gently sloped ground and lack of trees makes golf course land good for home-building, but it also makes it an excellent place to carefully position some solar panels and gather a lot of energy.

    From Fairways to Solar Farms

    The Rolling Solar Hills installation, which will spread over two million square meters of land and feature over 340 thousand high-efficiency Kyocera solar modules, will be designed and constructed in a joint venture by Kyudenko Corporation and Gaia Power. The land they are building on was designated for a golf course thirty years ago, but that course was never built. Converting the unused land into a solar farm is expected to bring many jobs to nearby Kanoya City and Osaki Town, and increase tax revenues for those municipalities. The companies plan to build using environmentally-friendly construction methods in order to reduce environmental impact, and once the project is working at full capacity, it has the potential to offset approximately 35,700 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
    Kyocera and other partners have already begun construction on a similar installation at another abandoned golf course in Kyoto prefecture. The Fushimi Ward project is smaller, with approximately 90 thousand Kyocera solar modules planned, but will be providing enough power for approximately eight thousand households.
    Photo credit: Zach Dischner via Flickr under Creative Commons license

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