Japan making solar compulsory

Japan opened several solar energy parks last Sunday as a new law requiring companies to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price in a push for alternatives to nuclear power came into action.

The openings come on the same day that engineers began refiring an atomic reactor, despite growing public protests due to the meltdowns at Fukushima, ending the two months in which Japan was nuclear-free.

A new solar centre opened in Kyoto, while various municipalities also started up installations able to provide energy for hundreds of thousands of households.

Japanese telecommunications Softbank chief Masayoshi Son has been opposed to nuclear energy since a devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled cooling systems last year, and says they had plans for 11 solar or windpower centres in Japan.

The push to invest in renewable energy resources is a mark of Japan’s search for alternatives to nuclear power, as 49 out of 50 reactors in the country have been shut down for safety checks and amid growing public protests.

The new law that took effect on Sunday is aimed at encouraging firms to pursue sustainable initiatives.

The government estimates the power provided by renewable energy in Japan this year will attain 2,500 megawatts, the equivalent of two medium-sized nuclear reactors.

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