Japan is committed to responding to the gradual abandonment of agricultural land in the country: the creation of solar power plants that, in addition to generating clean energy, promote the production of tons of black fungi or Auricularia polytricha, a mushroom widely consumed in the country. Producing solar energy and growing food, a concept we have already talked about with agrovoltaic energy.

The idea was put forward to roll the Start specialized in renewable energies Sustainergy, as well as finances Hitachi Capital and the construction company Daiwa home industry. Specifically, their plans include construction of two solar power plants in northeastern Japan which, of course, will not be two other installations. With 2,000 kilowatts of energy produced in each of them, they already surpass all others in the country.

But in addition to providing 4,000 kilowatts, these factories will serve another purpose: the production of black mushrooms. Its cultivation, which requires little exposure to the sun, fits perfectly into the free space under the panels. In them it is expected that up to 40 tonnes per year of this fungus can be produced which today is mainly imported from China.

The factories, planned in Miyagi Prefecture with an investment of $ 11 million, are the first step in this more ambitious initiative. If all goes well, the promoters propose to extend the concept to producers across the country.. The potential benefits for them are clear. Energy to cover their needs and even to obtain additional income, in addition to the cultivation of a product for which it is considered that there will be a demand. For this, Hitachi Capital would provide the panels and equipment, while Daiwa House would take care of the construction and maintenance of the facilities.

While the idea of ​​promoting solar power installations on abandoned farmland has been around for a long time, the restrictions that existed to converting these spaces had held back this possibility. However, the recovery operated by the Japanese government in 2013 helped promote this initiative which promotes dual use of land. This aspect was essential, since the executive is in favor of the land continuing to maintain some agricultural activity.

The government’s insistence is not surprising since the aging of Japan’s population and the preference of young people for the city has led to a an abandonment of agricultural land which is inexorably advancing at a rate of 10% per year. According to estimates from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, converting this vacant land into mixed facilities for solar energy capture and cultivation could provide Japan with up to 70,000 megawatts or, which is the same thing, enough energy to supply 20 million households.

Going through Nikkei.