It’s true that solar panels aren’t for everyone and everywhere. There are certain climates that just don’t get enough sunlight, or houses that don’t have a place to add solar panels. However, there are a lot of places that should be using solar panels and aren’t. My island here in Okinawa is one of those places. We have had a couple of very large wind turbines and one very small solar field, but that is about it. We are a sub-tropical island (think hawaii), so we get a lot of sunlight each year.
On top of that, this island is designated as an “eco island” which means there is supposed to be a focus on green energy and sustainable living. Unfortunately, this is really more of a title than it is a push to make the island sustainable and clean. The island gets a ton of money from the Japanese government so we have a ton of parks, baseball parks, tourist locations, and now an underwater tunnel. So why don’t we have solar panel electricity?
Most of it comes down to politics and the fact that our island is a tourist island, so the money is put towards things to get more tourists to come. The politicians don’t think about the long term benefits of getting electricity from solar panels. In fact, there aren’t even really solar panels for sale here on our island.
However, this is about to change. The government is currently installing a large solar panel field that will allow our island to get about a percentage of our electricity from solar panels. If it works out well, then we may see more projects in the future. Solar panel electricity makes a lot of sense, since not only do we get a lot of sun, but during storms it can also be difficult to get gas to run the generators. Not to mention the extra costs associated with having it shipped here.
As you can see from the picture above, the field is substantial and is supposed to be finished this year. They did unfortunately, cut down a small forest to put it in place (as they destroyed a coral reef to put up the underwater tunnel). On the good side, trees and plants grow incredibly fast here.
I will keep you up to date and try to get some pics once it’s completed.