After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan started plotting and planning ways to dismantle nuclear, and start growing solar and renewable energy farms.
One of the biggest obstacles to development of any kind in Japan is the chronic lack of space. There is limited land capacity, which has led to the nation coming up with many ingenious ideas and methods of saving space. The buildings are tall, and hills are leveled to make way for more hospitable landscapes, while the material from those hills is often deposited into the sea to reclaim more land.
When it comes to solar panels, there is also limited surface area available. Even when the Japanese are at their most forward thinking, the photovoltaic panels still need a certain amount of sun-facing land..
So what do you do when you need to install a very large number of photovoltaic panels in order to keep an island archipelago country going and there is no space left?
How about floating them? We all know that electricity and water don’t mix that nicely, but what if we made floating islands, load them with solar panels and supplement the national grid with the energy?
Japan has a number of these floating solar power plants, and will keep on creating such, as nuclear popularity wanes and the existing plants slowly get dismantled.
In other news, over in Australia, they have discovered how to utilize surplus electricity – from rooftop solar panels – to freeze salt compact coils inside a storage tank.
When that stored energy is needed – when the sun goes down – the compact coils release it through melting the salt.
From all accounts this system is cheap, relatively compact for the amount of energy it can store, has rapid discharge, and doesn’t eventually go flat. The future is upon us.