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Solar Power Plant alongside Okayama Airport Runway to be First Non-Rooftop Installation at a Japanese Airport

Solar Power Plant alongside Okayama Airport Runway to be First Non-Rooftop Installation at a Japanese Airport

Okayama Airport and the location of the solar panels.

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On August 27, Okayama Prefecture announced the construction of a "megasolar" installation (defined as a solar power plant generating 1,000 kilowatts/1megawatt or more) along the south side of the runway at Okayama Airport in the city of Okayama. The facility will have an output of 3.5 megawatts.

The prefecture's plan calls for the installation of approximately 15,000 solar panels covering 4.6 hectares of land. The facility is expected to generate 3.7 kilowatt hours a year, equivalent to the power consumed by 1,000 typical households. The prefecture plans to sell the electricity it produces to Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc.

The prefecture's Enterprise Bureau will build the plant, with the goal of finishing construction and bringing the plant online during the next fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2013. The project will cost JPY 1.75 billion.

Other Japanese airports such as Fukuoka and Chubu International already have solar power systems, but most employ panels placed on the roofs of terminals and other buildings. Okayama prefecture says that placing a solar power plant somewhere like the side of a runway will mark "the first time in Japan an airport installs a megasolar facility, which makes effective use of land and slopes, without impeding the airport's essential functions."

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