Houses and fields in the coastal area of Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture were damaged by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. Minamisoma City purchased the damaged land and worked out a recovery and development plan. Construction has been started on mega (large-scale) solar power plants with a total output of about 100MW in districts including Kashima Migita, Ebi and Haramachi Azuma, which are closest to the coast. The scale will be one of the largest in Japan.

Beach roses bloom beside the mega solar power plants

Facilities for restoration constructed in and around Maemukai in the Haramachi District, which is inland a little away from the coastal area, have been completed in advance to those in the coastal area. Mega solar power plants connected to the high voltage grid, plant factories, a validation facility for production of oil from algae and others have started operation, aiming for creation of new industries.

The white dome of the plant factory and a plant garden where beach roses can be viewed are seen when you cross the Niida River upon leaving Prefectural Road 263 and turn right towards the coast (Fig. 1). Red/purple flowers bloom from May to October and the flowers bear many red fruit. Eighteen kinds of plants including wolfberry, cultivated currant, yuzu and Chinese quince are grown in the garden so that people can enjoy both flowers and fruit.

Fig. 1: "Soma Nomaoinosato Hoan Solar" and the green zone (source: Nikkei BP)

The plant garden is in the green zone of "Soma Nomaoinosato Hoan Solar," a solar power plant constructed and operated by the Tohoku Electrical Safety Inspection Association of Sendai City for technical training. The association was required to create a green zone on roughly 20% of the site when it leased the roughly 2ha project site from Minamisoma City. Responding to the request, the association entrusted planting and management of the plants to Minamisoma Fukko Shokujukai, a local association, and opened the plant garden to the public (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Beach flowers blooming in the plant garden (source: Nikkei BP)