Japan’s Environment Ministry is looking to boost the deployment of ground mounted solar farms by offering extra support to projects being built on landfill sites that have reached full capacity, according to reports in the Japanese press.
According to newspaper Asahi Shimbun and other sources, a study commissioned by the ministry in 2013 and recently concluded, found that the total area spanned by landfill sites could accommodate around 7.4GW of extra solar generation capacity if utilised effectively.
The ministry posted a document on its website highlighting some of the issues and confirming that the scheme is expected to last three fiscal years. It explains that many of the sites could not otherwise be repurposed for use and that solar plants would represent something of an opportunity to reuse land from which contaminated groundwater and chemicals might have to be pumped. The ministry's document states that it will continue to fund and carry out feasibility studies on landfill sites as well as offering direct support for the construction and development projects.
Recently, the Japanese solar industry has suffered highly publicised difficulties in getting hundreds of approved projects online. While some 35GW of projects have been approved by the Japanese government, only a fraction have been connected, due to reasons that include lack of available grid capacity and a shortage of suitable land. Some commentators have warned that high levels of public approval for solar that have been enjoyed in recent times could be in jeopardy if electricity prices for consumers continue to rise, attributed in part to the struggle to continue adding renewable energy capacity.