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Habitat for Humanity Launches Solar Project to Support Disaster-Affected Families in Ofunato

Up to 40 households to benefit from electricity savings and government subsidies

BANGKOK, October 22, 2012 – Global non-profit housing organization Habitat for Humanity today announced that it will partner with Hilti, provider of leading-edge technology to the global construction industry, and business and financial information provider Bloomberg, to develop a pilot solar project in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan. The ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ in its initial phase will see the installation of solar panels in up to 40 disaster-affected homes.

Hilti has committed start-up funding while Bloomberg has lent its expertise in Japan’s solar market policies and trends. Bloomberg is a long-term global supporter of Habitat for Humanity’s work through its philanthropic arm. Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH), a coalition of German relief organizations, is also providing financial support for the project.

Each family involved in the project will contribute toward 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.

“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,” said Tomoya Kaji, Habitat for Humanity Japan’s acting national director.

The savings and additional income source will provide some financial relief for the families participating in the project. The lack of income-generating opportunities in the aftermath of the twin disasters is a serious issue in Ofunato.

“We are now looking for a technical partner to donate or sell discounted solar panels in order to support more families,” he added.

On July 1 this year, Japan’s ‘feed-in-tariff’ regulations kicked in, obligating its 10 regional power utility companies to buy electricity generated by wind and solar projects at a fixed rate of 42 Japanese Yen (JPY) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), approximately US$0.53 per kWh. The move followed the closure of Japan’s last nuclear reactor in May which resulted in an electricity shortfall which the government is targeting to fill by tapping renewable energy sources.

Habitat for Humanity estimates that each household involved in the ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ may save and earn up to JPY 1 million (approximately US$12,788) over ten years. This calculation is based on the amount saved in energy bills and income earned from the feed-in-tariff scheme, and will vary according to the size of the home and family.

Experts have cited the Japanese government’s feed-in-tariff scheme as one of the world’s most aggressive renewable energy policies, due to its generous subsidies. Similar schemes have led to rapid growth of solar energy in countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany. Japan’s focus on renewable energy sources has led to a rush of investment in the industry, with soaring sales of solar or photovoltaic cells and solar panels.

Companies interested in supporting the Solar Home Recovery Project should email info@habitatjp.org.

* Family installation and feed-in-tariff earnings have been calculated using guidance from the Japan Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and are based upon a 3kW solar panel over a 10 year period. Family savings have been calculated using estimates based on current Iwate Prefecture residential utility charges.

About Habitat for Humanity Japan
Habitat for Humanity Japan is the Japanese chapter of Habitat for Humanity International. HFH Japan was officially registered in 2003 and each year, HFH Japan raises funds and sends hundreds of volunteers overseas to help build and repair homes for low-income families. Since 2011, HFH Japan has run a domestic disaster response program, supporting over 15,000 families. Visit habitatjp.org

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit housing organization bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by building and improving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. An estimated 211,280 of these families are in the Asia-Pacific region, where Habitat has been active since 1983. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit habitat.org/asiapacific or follow us at facebook.com/habitat.

About Hilti (Hilti Corporation, Hilti Foundation)
Founded in 1941, the worldwide Hilti Group evolved from a small family company in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Some 22,000 employees in more than 120 countries around the world enthuse their professional customers with outstanding innovation, top quality products, system and services.

The Hilti Foundation was established in 1996 as a charitable organization by the Martin Hilti Family Trust. The Martin Hilti Family Trust is the sole shareholder of the worldwide Hilti Group. Under its guiding principle “We build a better future”, the Foundation supports activities and projects focused on affordable housing, community development, social entrepreneurship, disaster relief, education and culture. Some of the work extends from deep sea research in the Alexandria, Egypt, to providing housing solutions for the underprivileged in Brazil, to operation of mobile clinic in Palestine, to supporting youth orchestras in Venezuela. hilti.com; hilti-foundation.org

About Hilti Japan
Hilti Japan offers powertools and materials for measuring, drilling and demolition, anchoring systems, firestop and foam systems for professional users in construction, civil engineering, electrical and installation industries in Japan. Also, the company is committed to excellence in consulting on construction methods, total quality and anchoring. Founded in 1968, Hilti Japan has been serving Japanese construction professionals with outstanding innovations and services.

About Bloomberg
Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength – delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately – is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service, which provides real time financial information to more than 310,000 subscribers globally. Bloomberg’s enterprise solutions build on the company’s core strength, leveraging technology to allow customers to access, integrate, distribute and manage data and information across organizations more efficiently and effectively. Through Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Government, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Bloomberg BNA, the company provides data, news and analytics to decision makers in industries beyond finance. Bloomberg News is delivered through the Bloomberg Professional service, television, radio, mobile, the Internet and two magazines, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets, covers the world with more than 2,300 news and multimedia professionals at 146 bureaus in 72 countries. Headquartered in New York, Bloomberg employs more than 15,000 people in 192 locations around the world.

About Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Bloomberg New Energy Finance is the world’s leading independent provider of news, data, research and analysis to decision makers in renewable energy, energy smart technologies, carbon markets, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power. New Energy Finance Limited was acquired by Bloomberg L.P. in December 2009, and its services and products are now owned and distributed by Bloomberg L.P. and its subsidiaries. For more information on Bloomberg New Energy Finance: bnef.com

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