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Japan Transform Abandoned Golf Courses Into Solar Plants
International, 8/5/2015

During housing booms developers tend to build more than necessary. When these booms are broken, we wait to see how people come up with creative uses for this waste of land.

This is what is happening in Japan, where developers built too many golf courses in recent decades, after the demand soared in the 1980s. Now the industry is in decline, with the participation in sport down to 40% since the 1990s, and abandoned golf courses are beginning to appear.

Kyocera's solution: convert the green space left in solar plants. Japan has been hungry for alternative energy since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Fukushima nuclear power became an unattractive option in the country, and golf courses happen to be perfectly suited for solar power, because they are large open spaces that often receive plenty of sunlight.

Kyocera's first project, currently under construction, is a 23-megawatt solar power plant on a golf course in Kyoto Prefecture. When operational in 2017, the plant will produce enough power for 8,100 homes.

The company is also developing a 92 MW solar power plant with the capacity to generate enough power for 30,000 homes at the abandoned golf course in the Kagoshima prefecture.

For Japan, the conversion of golf courses in solar power plants makes sense. But in other countries where golf is on the downswing, as in the US, suburban fields could be equally useful and have a second life as green spaces or infill development.

In the sprawling suburbs, these large tracts of land could support dense residential developments, shops, community centers, libraries, schools and all kinds of other buildings that could help rebuild a long lost sense of community.


Topic(s):    Sustainable developmentEnvironmental management