Regarding the Sept. 9 Kyodo article “Kepco’s massive solar plant up and running“: Although I applaud Kansai Electric Power Co.’s efforts to provide us with greener energy from its 10 megawatt power plant in Osaka, I can’t help but feel the land used is wasted.
Solar panels would be best served covering the dead space of rooftops and buildings. Japan has limited land as it is, and the solar power plant takes a whopping 21 hectares.
The other drawback is that solar power is a periodic power source. As long as the sun shines, it generates electricity. You would have to store that energy in batteries or as heat and reconvert it back to electricity (at a significant loss) for nighttime use.
Geothermal energy is Japan’s greatest resource. You can produce 1 megawatt of electricity for every one to eight hectares. This suggests that the land used for the Kepco solar power plant has the potential to produce three to 21 megawatts of continuous 24-hour-a-day electricity.
Japanese energy companies and investors should be looking at the example set by Iceland, the world leader in the utilization of geothermal energy, for the best way to harness the power of our most valuable untapped resource.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.