Japan’s mega solar boom: quantifying social equity expectations and realities at the local scale

Andrew Chapman, Timothy Fraser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This research aims to quantitatively identify the variation in equity and burden distribution associated with mega-solar siting at the local level in Japan, and to identify mega-solar siting outcomes in each region and prefecture, in terms of social equity and burden distribution outcomes relative to stated preferences. Methodologies employed include survey and interviews to identify critical energy policy factors associated with mega-solar siting, and their perceived importance according to local officials associated with deployment. Building on the critical factor and important findings from 29 of Japan’s largest 200 mega-solar sites, a quantitative analysis of social equity outcomes in terms of health, environmental improvement, electricity prices, employment and community development is undertaken. Additionally, an analysis of the burden distribution resultant from mega-solar deployment in each region is undertaken. In all cases explored, mega-solar deployment leads to an improvement in social equity levels, with desirable burden distribution which closes the gap between rich and poor. Regional and local factors impact upon the comparative equity and burden distribution outcomes between sites, notably pre-existing particulate matter concentrations and employment changes between fossil fuel and renewable industries, and the reduction of electricity tariffs. These findings identify challenges and opportunities for policy makers and the proactive, equitable deployment of mega solar based on national, regional and local attributes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-374
    Number of pages20
    JournalSustainability Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Global and Planetary Change
    • Health(social science)
    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Ecology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Nature and Landscape Conservation
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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