Turning golf into power

In an effort to boost renewable energy production and diversify its energy sources in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Japan is covering its many abandoned old courses in solar panels.

During Japan’s boom years, golf courses spread like a rash across the country, but when the bubble burst, many were unable to keep up with the huge costs associated with running a golf course on one of the world’s most densely-populated islands.

As a result, many lie abandoned, but renewable energy companies are seeing their potential as sources of power.

Multinational company Kyocera last week announced that they have started construction on a 23-megawatt ‘solar farm’, on a former golf course in Kyoto prefecture.

It’s due to start operating in September 2017, and will generate an estimated 26,312 megawatt hours every year – that’s enough electricity to power around 8,100 typical households in the area.

Kyocera and other companies are also developing an even bigger solar power plant, at another abandoned golf course in Kagoshima prefecture. This one’s set to open in 2018, and will produce almost four times as much power as its predecessor.

There’s hundreds of similar sites across Japan, owing to a severe over-development of golf courses in the past.

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Sharing parking spaces

The French start-up Zenpark has just launched the first service of parking spaces sharing in France.

The idea is great and costs almost nothing to implement. Simply register online with Zenpark and wait to receive a personal remote control that will allow access to various partner parkings, whether public or private.

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To increase the availability of parkings, the company talks with administrations, hotels, companies that know their availability of parking and can therefore easily rent them to Zenpark. In Paris, a half-dozen car parks are already available.

The service was inaugurated on January 29th in Strasbourg and Paris and will spread to other urban areas of France … According to Zenpark, looking for a parking space is responsible for 30% of the car traffic in European cities, and 20% of the CO2 emissions!

Registration is free and a deposit of € 29 is required to send the remote. For the launch of the offer, the subscription price is 20 € / month for 5 days per week regardless of the parking location. Spaces are available for day (9h to 19h) or night time (19h30 to 8h30) or even the weekend.

You must reserve a space in advance, then open the door with the remote and park in one of the Zenpark reserved space. A win-win situation: drivers benefit from an increased availability of parking spaces at an affordable price, parking owners make money, and cities have more space in the streets!

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