Habitat for Humanity Japan fits first panel in solar power project to support tsunami-affected families
First non-profit organization in Japan to help individual households harness benefits of feed-in-tariff
(top) The last of fifteen panels are istalled on the Hazawa home. (below) Kenichi Hazawa talks about being the first home owner to benefit from Habitat’s solar project and having panels fitted to the home he shares with his brother.
Bangkok, 31 May 2013: The first solar panel in Habitat for Humanity Japan’s pilot ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ has been installed on the roof of the Hazawa family house.
As residents in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011 left the Hazawas with a damaged home and no livelihood. This solar panel will help the Hazawa household save on utility bills and generate income by selling excess electricity to their regional utility provider through Japan’s new ‘feed-in tariff’ (FIT) rebate scheme.
“I am just so thankful. I was interested in getting a solar power generation system for my house, but there was no way that I could afford it. With this support from Habitat, it is much easier for me to envisage, and be hopeful of, a better life and future”, said Mr. Kenichi Hazawa.
Habitat for Humanity is the first non-profit organization in Japan to offer this kind of opportunity to individual households. Supported by Hilti, with tools and a financial donation, the first phase of the pilot project will support an initial 13 families in Ofunato to mount solar panels to their roofs. Benefitting families have been selected on the basis of need, with a particular focus on inclusion of people with disabilities.
“As someone from the affected coastal area of Iwate Prefecture, I am proud to be a part of this project. The need for renewable energy is now higher than ever before the disaster. I hope this project will help bring about a positive change for the future of disaster-hit areas”, said Mr. Hisato Harako, President of Higashinihon Sorana, the solar power company providing and installing all the solar panels.
In the project’s second phase, solar panels will be installed at community centers where generated income would be used to fund revitalization ventures in the area.