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2013/10/09

What is solar sharing?

The system is called “solar sharing” (ソーラーシェアリング) in Japan. Who knows what expression will eventually take root in English. We’re talking about a new way of producing clean energy without compromising food production.

Dscn2432_3 How does it work?

Solar panels are installed on a frame about 3 meters above the ground, with wide spacing between panel rows. About three quarters of sunlight reach the ground and the remaining quarter reaches the panels. In this way, the same area is used simultaneously for both agriculture and power generation.

Picture: Solar sharing project of Ken Matsuoka in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan.

This revolutionary idea is based on the fact that most plants don't need all sunshine they receive in an open field. Plants do need light for photosynthesis, but only to a certain point. Everything beyond this saturation point does not increase photosynthesis rate and can even be harmful (e.g. causing more evaporation and lack of moisture). Solar sharing takes advantage of this fact - panels use the excessive sunlight for power generation while crops are cultivated below them.

Solar sharing was invented by a Japanese Akira Nagashima in 2003 and today there are numerous trial projects all over Japan.

This blog aims to introduce these projects and everything related – from institutional background to on-site technological challenges.

Link to the inventor Akira Nagashima's project in Chiba prefecture (website is in Japanese):

http://www.d3.dion.ne.jp/~higashi9/sola1.htm

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コメント

I know Solar Sharing is not English word; then how can we say it in English.
Also I'd like to know the activities of Solar Sharing outside of Japan. Do you know any news regarding Solar Sharing activities in foreign counties ?

Hello Mr. Katayama
thank you for your comment. I'm Suu, owner of this blog.
You're right that "solar sharing" is not an English word, but there is no fixed expression for solar sharing in English yet, as far as I know. I suggest to use the expression "solar sharing" in English with proper explanation. We'll see whether it will take root or if someone will come up with better term.

So far, expressions like "dual land use," or "dual use solar installations" have sometimes been used to describe the idea of solar sharing, such as one in the link below. The design is different but the idea is the same:
http://www.recorder.com/home/12778223-95/land-use-a-balancing-act
By the way I personally don't know of any solar sharing activities outside of Japan - other than what I find online the link above. If you come across any projects let me know!

Suu-san,

Thank you for your comments. Your introduced link is informative.
Personally speaking, I prefer to the Japanese English word " Solar Sharing " wink
I'm sure that Solar Sharing is getting more needed because of the declined domestic agricultue in Japan. So, I'm getting interested in it.
Of course, this system will be prevailed to outside of Japan, I hope.

Hiro

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