Japan is tackling its land shortage in a smart way, with the building of what will eventually be the world’s largest floating solar farm. Solar power generation is a wonderful renewable alternative, but it does require a significant footprint. Japan is looking to innovative alternatives due to the shortage of land. By using the top of a reservoir, although more expensive than on land, it is another example how multi-functionality, that is, multiple uses of the same space is more efficient and can lead to unanticipated co-benefits. The project will provide power to 5000 households and completed in early 2018. It is prudent future planning, and a new way to look at how we can best integrate all opportunities for renewable energy into the grid.
Another innovative use of existing space is the use of existing flat rooftops for solar energy in our own country, in Ontario. Click here to read about the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperatives’ projects building community-owned solar power, profitably. It is a case study in multi-use of existing space, cooperative leadership and a sound financial model that allows community members to invest in RRSPs while at the same time strengthening their community’s vitality.