Solar photovoltaic can replace nuclear power in Japan

A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas (Austin, Texas, US) indicates that Tokyo could use solar photovoltaic (PV) generation as “baseload” power, due to Japan’s large amount of pumped hydro storage.

“Potential for rooftop photovoltaics in Tokyo to replace nuclear capacity” states that PV could help meet peak requirements as well as suppling roughly 26% of the electricity that Tokyo formerly received from nuclear generation 91% of the time. The study was originally published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Potential for 43.1 GW of PV on Tokyo rooftops

The report found 300 square kilometers of suitable rooftop space in the city, and concludes that this could support 43.1 GW of PV, combined with the 7.28 GW of pumped hydro storage available in the region.

The report’s authors based PV output on a 34-year data set of average daily irradiance in the Tokyo metropolitan area, from which they concluded that the combined system could provide 4.8 GW 91% of the time.

Rooftop solar, storage can replace nuclear power across Japan

The researchers also concluded that if the rest of Japan could provide 5.6 times this rooftop space for PV plants, the combination of PV and 18.1 GW of storage capacity could supply the 27% of Japanese electricity demand met by nuclear power.