Scale of floating solar steps up

  • Technology


The scale for the use of floating solar power generation is to take a step up now that work has begun on a project in Japan to build what will be the world’s largest such plant when completed in early 2018.

The 13.7MW plant is being built on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture and will include around 51,000 modules covering a surface area of 180,000m3.

Announcement of the start of work was made by Japanese electronics company Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, the two partners in the Kyocera TCL Solar venture that is building the plant. Using Kyocera-supplied modules, it is projected the plant will produce 16,170 megawatt hours a year, or enough electricity to power around 5000 homes.

The reservoir is managed by the Public Enterprises Agency of Chiba Prefecture for industrial water services.

Kyocera TCL Solar began developing floating solar power plants in 2014. The Yamakura Dam plant is its fourth floating plant and follows a 1.7MW and a 1.2MW plant, which began working in March 2015, and a 2.3MW launched in June 2015, all in Japan.

The company’s work is not confined to floating solar. In November it completed an 8.5MW plant on an island in Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake, and this month it announced that it had donated five portable solar units to Nepal to support earthquake reconstruction.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the UK’s United Utilities installed Europe’s largest floating solar power plant at the end of last year on the Godley reservoir in Manchester. The £3.5 million, 3MW project deployed 12,000 panels.

The project became the second floating power plant in the UK. It was supplied by Floating Solar UK, a subsidiary of French company Ciel et Terre International and supplier of the Hydrelio technology used. Its earlier project was an 800 panel, 200kW installation.


  • Japan, UK, Floating Solar UK, Kyocera, floating solar