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    Abandoned golf courses of today the solar farms of the future

    Nathan Johnson

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    In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, Japan made a pledge to roughly double its amount of renewable power sources in the country by 2030.

    One novel approach aiding this quest has since come the fore and not only provides more energy for the Asian Pacific nation from renewable sources, but also offers a solution to another problem in Japan—a stockpile of abandoned golf courses.

    Kyocera, one of the world’s largest vertically-integrated producers and suppliers of solar energy panels, has now commenced construction of a 23-megawatt (MW) solar power plant on an abandoned golf course in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The plant will generate an estimated 26,312 megawatt hours (MWh) per year — enough electricity to power approximately 8,100 typical local households.

    The company has also announced that it will begin construction next year 92-megawatt plant on another abandoned golf course (that was never built), this time using 340,000 solar modules to generate nearly 100,000 megawatt hours per year, or enough to power about 30,500 households when it goes operational in 2018.

    Tokyo-based Pacifico Energy is also building a 42-megawatt solar plant on an old golf course in the Okayama Prefecture, with help from GE Energy Financial Services.

    While in the US there are plans for solar farms on abandoned golf course in New York and Minnesota.

    Information courtesy of Quartz


    Concentrated Solar Power in Tunisia for the United Kingdom

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    Image: Nur Energie.

    Meanwhile in the North African country of Tunisia, there is rumours that a new 100 sqkm solar farm could be constructed in the desert and be used to power homes as far as the United Kingdom.

    The ‘TuNur’ project by Nur Energie will use a concentrated solar power (CSP) system as opposed to the more common photovoltaic systems. The farm will be made up of thousands of mirrors that direct radiant heat towards a central tower filled with salt and water, which then heats up to create steam that would power a giant turbine. The energy generated would then be diverted through a 450km piping system, to a substation in Rome before making its final journey to the UK.

    Nur Energie reports that the TuNur project could generate circa 9,400GWh of 100 per cent renewable and dispatchable power per annum.


    Chile’s Atacama Desert hot for renewables

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    Image: Renew Economy.

    In the Latin America country of Chile, considered by some as the most attractive region on the planet for solar, US Solar Giant SunPower has revealed plans to spend in the vicinity of $1.5 billion on 1GW of solar farms in the country.

    This is ontop of the company’s 70MW Salvador solar farm it has already built in Chile’s Atacama region.

    As reported by Renew Economy, Chile has a target of 20 per cent of renewables generation by 2025 and, under President Michelle Bachelet, has introduced a system allowing wind and solar electricity generators to sell their power in specific time-blocks, increasing their ability to compete with traditional power plants.

    This, alone, has led to Chile installing a forecast record amount of new installed renewable capacity of 1.1GW in 2015, including 680MW from solar PV plants, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


    $1 Billion QLD solar power farm produces enough energy for 550,000 homes

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    In Australia, a 200-hectare solar panel farm slated for development in South East Queensland could eventually generate enough electricity to power 550,000 homes.

    Approval for the estimated $1 billion development of the farm, to be situated west of Toowoomba at Bulli Creek, has been granted by Toowoomba Regional Council under the proviso that construction of the first stage of the project begins within four years and that it will have a 35-year operating limit from when it begins operations.

    The approval grants developers Solar Choice a total footprint of up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) over the next eight years across 13,000 acres of cleared, flat cattle grazing land and the option of building the site in stages of 100MW to 500MW or more per stage.

    The first phase connection will be 550MW with QLD’s Powerlink agreeing to the farm's connection to their Bulli Creek substation.

    From there, an uncertainty lingers around whether the project will get the needed investment to take the project up to its 2,000MW potential.

    Investment will also be affected by the Australian government’s future stance on the Renewable Energy Target policy and the extent of the grants Solar Choice receive from government.

     

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