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Will solar farms be the next abandoned asset in Japan?

Saturday, December 16, 2023

A solar panel hidden by thick vegetation on a hillside in Japan

While ghostly, abandoned houses offered for peanuts get attention, another part of Japan is left to rot and ruin. Solar farms are also suffering from neglect.

Of the dozen or so solar farms within easy walking distance of my home, a third show signs of neglect. Weeds are trailing over panels, or dust and dirt waits to be cleaned. Some of it is quite thick. The worst example has been lost to nature.

Believe it or not, under the mass of vegetation, there lurks a 47kw solar farm. Or part of it.

I've been unable to track down the operator, and I assume it's been disconnected from its silence. Yet this was only established in 2017, far from the end of a serviceable life.

Why it's been forgotten is anyone's guess. Perhaps it proved too expensive to maintain, or the operator went bust.

Whatever the reason, this is a sight we may see more of. Well-intentioned investments in clean energy are left to rack and ruin through neglect and a lack of strategy.

Just as cities have established programs to sell abandoned houses, they should be given tools to rescue much-needed green energy projects. Whether that's bringing them under a city operator or seizing and selling them off as houses is a question we should address now rather than later.

Japan's green energy policies remain a mess. We don't need abandoned solar farms adding to it.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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