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Clean energy   The project to be completed in March 2016

Japan is building the world's largest floating solar plant

Yamakura DamClean energy companies are looking to wetlands, lakes, ponds, and canals as building grounds as the location of their new solar panels. The biggest floating plant will soon be placed atop the reservoir in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo.

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The project is scheduled to be completed in March 2016. It will cover 180,000 square meters, hold 50,000 photovoltaic solar panels, and power nearly 5,000 households. Interestingly, the project will also offset nearly 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the same amount as 1,700 car emissions.

The Yamakura Dam project is a collaboration between Kyocera, Ciel et Terre, and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation.

Building on water helps to free up surrounding land agricultural use, conservation, or other development. Yet here are concerns over the project. You can't simply place a solar panel in any lake or reservoir.

Solar energy plants on the water are clearly more susceptible to changes in weather, but moreover they have to be thoroughly waterproofed, including all panels and wiring.

It's not just bad weather, but natural disasters that have to be taken into consideration as Japan is a hot spot for typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and tidal waves. To make sure that the platforms stay intact, Ciel et Terre's R&D team tested them in a wind tunnel that matched the same conditions of a hurricane.

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