Energy / Climate Change

August 16, 2013


Solar Sharing Program through Solar Panels on Farmland Launched

Keywords: Food Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 


Installing solar panels above farmland, Solar Sharing Kazusatsurumai began operations of a photovoltaic generation system in April 2013 in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The system is installed above 750 square meters of farmland, annually producing 35,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to the consumption of 10 households.

Solar Sharing is a method of producing crops and electricity at the same time by installing compact solar panels at regular intervals above farmland where crops are growing. Although solar panels shade crops on farmland, too much sunshine can be harmful to crops. In addition, the photosynthetic activity of crops cannot be promoted beyond a certain level of sunshine. In short, this technology shares sunshine between agriculture and power generation.

Japan's Agricultural Land Act prohibits the use of farmland for purposes other than agriculture. In April 2013, however, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan issued a notice to permit the temporal conversion of farmland to fix poles for purpose of installing solar panels if appropriate cultivation of crops is ensured.

With the feed-in-tariff scheme established in July 2012, the spread of solar sharing throughout Japan should be monitored.