Ota City is Japan’s Solar City. Three-quarters of the town’s homes are covered by solar panels. The panels are distributed for free. They are also a draw for new residents keen to minimize their power bills.
“We moved here because of the panels — it was something we wanted, but not something we could afford on our own,” said a resident.
Ota is located 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Tokyo and Pal Town is dubbed “Solar City”. The town received free solar panels from 2002 through a 9.7 billion yen state-backed study. Solar power is generally unreliable in cloudy Japan. But at high noon in sunny weather, a 4-kilowatt rooftop power generator can produce enough power to run a typical household. Cloudy weather cuts the power generated to less than half.
It is still not practical to implement the plan nationwide.
“People want solar power,” said an Ota City assistant section manager. That’s right! We want dependable, affordable solar power.