We just read on Gigaom about the level of investment Japan has been making in solar energy in the last two years: 11 GW (gigawatts of power) have already been installed and the nation has approved additional solar projects that will deliver about 70 GW more!
What does that mean??? We looked it up so that you don't have to. For context, the Hoover Dam is a 2 GW facility, and 1 GW of power can deliver power to up to 750,000 homes. In 2012, California had a goal of providing 1 GW of power from solar energy.
Panasonic, Sharp and other solar panel makers are based in Japan - so the tech is not new to the region. But given the troubles and toxins spilled when Fukushima succumbed to an earthquake and concerns about nuclear facilities falling prey to tidal waves and other natural disasters, this is sure to be welcome news to all.
While the Setouchi solar farm will cover over 1200 acres of salt fields, at a build cost of $1.1 billion, Kyocera's Yamakura Dam project - a floating solar panel farm of 50,000 solar modules over 180,000 square meters of water - is truly awe-some, and has the capacity to yield impressive energy returns.