21 Apr 2022 | Blog, Floating solar

Floating solar goes swimming.

Japanese Elementary School Pool turned into solar energy!

Considering global warming, cities and governments seek for renewable energy solutions to reduce their green gas emissions while answering the increase of electrical needs. Floating Solar is now considered as the third pillar of solar industry thanks to the number of possible applications, almost limitless. Irrigation reservoirs, hydroelectric dams, water treatment surfaces or drinking water sites, quarry lakes etc, they are good examples of FPV applications to take advantage of the synergy between the sun and the water. This wide variety of site makes floating solar a great solution to spread renewable energy and to meet energy needs.

Since the very beginning of its floating solar history, the main objective of Ciel & Terre was to provide solutions preserving lands, supporting institutions, governments, and pond owners to maintain their activities requiring lands: agriculture, city growth, industrial activities etc. Accordingly to our beliefs, we are engaged to convert an unused area into a green energy field.

Our team at Ciel & Terre Japan has recently taken up the challenge to transform unused elementary school pools into floating solar projects in response to the request of its business owner!


In Japan, as a result of the reviewing of the division of municipalities and their consolidations over several decades, some schools are not used anymore in Japan. Even for running schools, students no longer use the existing outside pools due to their deterioration and they now go to indoor pools. The challenging part in school renovation is to find a new usage for the pools and their facilities as the cost of dismantling is expensive for the cities. So when there an unused pool and no plan to remove the building in the long term, the water surface becomes highly suitable for floating solar installations.

The aim of turning pools into energy producer is to contribute to the Community by using existing local assets and facilities. As Japanese cities were looking for a good way to reuse these pools, ELM, a local developer and EPC, came with the disruptive idea to turn them into floating solar plant.

To launch Ciel & Terre Japan’s 1st project at Hirakawa Elementary School (Satsuma, Kagoshima, Japan) it was essential to gain local people’s understanding and support. This project is the first of his kind. It was the first time that a part of an educational facility was used as a power plant. This have been made possible thanks to the hard negotiation and adjustment work achieved by ELM.

Top view picture showing the high school and the unused pool where the floating solar plant is installed

Contributing to the Community is a strong mindset shared by locals, ELM and Ciel & Terre Japan. Water surfaces being a local people’s concerns, Ciel & Terre Japan naturally joined the project with its Hydrelio® technology and strong expertise in FPV.

The advantages of installing floating solar on a pool is that we can reuse existing pool facilities such as fences around the pool and the changing room for PCS storage area. Also, no need to excavate the land due to concrete pool side” explained Saori McMahon, Ciel & Terre Sales developer and project manager.

For Ciel & Terre Japan, the key challenge for those small FPV plants is to minimize the system and transport costs. So far, these micro-businesses only concern elementary and junior schools. It has been estimated that approximately 6,000 schools may be eligible for the FPV potential sites in the country. We will do our best to support customers who contributing to the community in small businesses like ELM.



[1] FPV : Floating Photovoltaic


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