Turning golf into power

In an effort to boost renewable energy production and diversify its energy sources in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Japan is covering its many abandoned old courses in solar panels.

During Japan’s boom years, golf courses spread like a rash across the country, but when the bubble burst, many were unable to keep up with the huge costs associated with running a golf course on one of the world’s most densely-populated islands.

As a result, many lie abandoned, but renewable energy companies are seeing their potential as sources of power.

Multinational company Kyocera last week announced that they have started construction on a 23-megawatt ‘solar farm’, on a former golf course in Kyoto prefecture.

It’s due to start operating in September 2017, and will generate an estimated 26,312 megawatt hours every year – that’s enough electricity to power around 8,100 typical households in the area.

Kyocera and other companies are also developing an even bigger solar power plant, at another abandoned golf course in Kagoshima prefecture. This one’s set to open in 2018, and will produce almost four times as much power as its predecessor.

There’s hundreds of similar sites across Japan, owing to a severe over-development of golf courses in the past.

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