An increasing number of businesses are offering services to evaluate green power generation to help search for optimal locations to set up solar panels and wind turbines.
They are counting on local governments that are interested in the design of eco-friendly "smart cities."
In December, Itochu Techno-Solutions Corp. (CTC) unveiled a system intended for local governments that offers a simple user interface to forecast how much power will be generated from natural energy sources in a given region. When the user enters the prospective location of a solar panel or a wind turbine on a map on the computer screen, the software analyzes the sunshine hours, wind directions and wind velocities, and automatically displays the estimated amount of annual power generation.
The software also tells the user how many years it would take to recoup the cash invested. The Tokyo-based IT company provides the service at monthly subscription fees in the hundreds of thousands of yen (thousands of dollars).
The service features power generation predictions per single wind turbine and per single solar panel, CTC officials said.
Asia Air Survey Co. has also started a similar business.
The Tokyo-based aerial measurement company plans to combine wind direction and wind velocity data, measured at NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s cellphone base stations, and geographical information in Asia Air Survey's possession to analyze which publicly owned plot of land would offer the highest power generation efficiency.
Local governments are increasingly interested in smart city projects amid concerns over possible power shortages after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown set off by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The smart city concept is drawing particular attention in areas hit hard in the March 11 disaster.
The three municipalities of Ofunato, Rikuzentakata and Sumita in Iwate Prefecture, all heavily affected by the March 11 disaster, are considering a possible use of CTC's system to jointly build a mega-solar plant.
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