Habitat for Humanity Japan fits first panel in solar power project to support tsunami-affected families

News and Press Release
Originally published

First non-profit organization in Japan to help individual households harness benefits of feed-in-tariff

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.

To arrange interviews or receive high-res photography, please contact Heron Holloway, +65 9068 1892, hholloway@habitat.org

Further information

  • On 1 July 2012, Japan’s ‘feed-in tariff’ regulations became operational, obligating its 10 regional power utility companies to buy electricity generated by wind and solar projects at a fixed rate of 38 Japanese Yen (JPY) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), approximately US$0.37 per kWh.

  • Habitat for Humanity estimates that households involved in the ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ may save and earn more than JPY 1 million (approximately US$10,154) 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 home and family. Family installation and feed-in tariff earnings have been calculated on the basis of the guidance provided by the Japan Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and assumed use of a 3kW solar panel for a period of 10 years. Family savings have been calculated using estimates based on the current rate of the residential utility charges in Iwate Prefecture.

About Habitat for Humanity Japan

Habitat for Humanity Japan is the Japanese chapter of Habitat for Humanity International, and was incorporated in 2003. Habitat for Humanity Japan raises funds and sends hundreds of volunteers overseas to help build and repair homes for low-income families. Since 2011, Habitat for Humanity Japan has supported over 15,000 families under its disaster response relief program,. habitatjp.org

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. It also offers anchoring systems, firestop and foam systems for professional users in construction, civil engineering, electrical and installation industries in Japan. 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. hilti.co.jp

About Higashinihon Sorana
Higashinihon Sorana was founded in 2003 in Morioka city, Iwate prefecture. The company offers installation of solar panels and other services related to housing. They have three branches in the same prefecture and focused on community-based services.

Heron Holloway
Media Relations and Disaster Communications Manager, Asia-Pacific
Habitat for Humanity International · Asia-Pacific Satellite Office
56 Lorong 23 Geylang, #05-00, Century Technology Building, Singapore 388381
Tel: +65 6744 2768 · Mobile: +65 9068 1892 · Skype: heron.holloway
hholloway@habitat.org · habitat.org/asiapacific | What will you build?