Energy / Climate Change

April 20, 2014


New Mega Solar Power Generation Integrated with Agriculture

Keywords: Food Local government Renewable Energy 

Photo: David.Monniaux

A large-scale (mega) solar power plant, Minokamo Energy Farm, opened on January 24, 2014, on prefectural land in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. The total annual energy production will be 1,576,000 kilowatts, enough to power 450 or so households per year. The solar panels have been installed on stands at least two meters high. Underneath the stands, plants such as Sakaki (Cleyera japonica), a flowering evergreen tree native to Japan, are to be grown at the same time.

As a model of the integration of mega solar power generation with agriculture, panels have been installed above unused farmland for solar power generation in the past, but this is the first attempt in Japan to launch a new farming operation with the goal of making effective use of the space under solar panels and promoting regional development.

Additionally, emergency electrical outlets have been installed so as to also use the plant as a facility to improve disaster mitigation. For the purpose of environmental education, there are plans to install a lookout platform and an electronic signboard for visitors including local school children.