Solar project launched for tsunami-hit homes in Japan

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Housing charity Habitat for Humanity is launching an initiative to provide solar installations for households in Ofunato, a Japanese city that was badly hit by last year’s tsunami.

The project is being run in partnership with construction technology firm Hilti and business and finance information provider Bloomberg, which will lend its expertise in solar policy and markets.

In its initial phase, the ‘solar home recovery project’ will install solar units into 40 disaster-affected homes.

Each family involved in the project will contribute towards the cost of their solar unit – an amount equivalent to what is available through the government rebate scheme – thereby enabling Habitat for Humanity to support more households

Tomoya Kaji, Habitat for Humanity Japan’s acting national director, said: “By installing solar panels in these homes, disaster-affected families are able to not only save on utility costs but make money by selling excess electricity to the regional utility provider as a result of the government’s revised national scheme to encourage use of renewable energy.”

Kaji added that his organisation was now looking for a technical partner to donate or sell discounted solar modules for the initiative.

Japan’s feed-in tariff came into effect in July this year and offers producers of solar and wind power a fixed rates of ¥42 Japanese Yen per kWh, approximately US$0.53 per kWh.

Habitat for Humanity estimates that each household involved in the project may save and earn up to JPY1 million (approximately US$12,788) over 10 years.

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