Small Japan village goes all solar

The average age in the farming community of Sanno is over 60.


Japan’s nuclear spring didn’t last long. Though the country’s nuclear power plants were taken offline following the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, the government restarted a reactor earlier this month.

But that hasn’t stopped a small village some 50 miles from the Oi plant from ditching conventional electricity from the grid and going solar.

Sanno in Hyogo Prefecture, population 42, has become the first municipality to rely on solar power.

Residents of the 11 households have an average age over 60, and the village, like many in rural Japan, is suffering depopulation. Costs for maintaining shared facilities had risen, forcing the remaining residents to somehow squeeze money out of the resources they had.

Using a special fund the village had kept for decades, they hired Sanyo Engineering & Construction to build 216 solar panels to generate power.

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