Energy / Climate Change

December 21, 2012


School in Suzaka to Generate Power as Local Energy Provider

Keywords: Local government Renewable Energy 

According to the Suzaka Shimbun, the Suzaka Solar Energy Promotion Council in Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture, is implementing a solar power generation system project that uses the roofs of elementary and junior high schools. At Omori Junior High School, the system was installed and started operation on October 25, 2012. This school will serve as a model project as the first of its kind in the prefecture.

At Omori Junior High School, 440 panels were installed on the roofs of the classroom building, the gymnasium, and the martial arts building. These panels will generate approximately 100 kilowatts of power, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 25 ordinary households. The initial cost was 40 million yen (about U.S.$506,000). Through use of Japan's comprehensive feed-in tariff program, the company expects to recover its initial investment in approximately 10 years.

The Council plans to consider installations at other schools in the city after observing operation at Omori Junior High, and promote diffusion of the project throughout the prefecture. If installations of the same scale were carried out at all of the 705 elementary, junior high and high schools in the prefecture, roughly 70,000 kilowatts of power could be generated, while the 38,305 elementary, junior high and high schools throughout Japan would have the ability to generate about 3,830,000 kilowatts of power, the equivalent of four nuclear power plants.

For the future, the Council is considering seeking investment, solar installations on the roofs of public facilities, and a system for allocating revenue from the sales of generated power to investors.