Non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity Japan has fitted the first solar panels in the house a family in the tsunami-affected area of Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture as part of their “Solar Home Recovery Project”. The organization is the first NGO in Japan to offer an opportunity to individual households to rebuild their houses and also to augment their income as well.
The March 2011 disaster damaged not just the house of the Hazawa family, but also left them without livelihood and in financial difficulty. The newly-installed solar panels will cut down on their utility bills and also will generate additional income for them as they can sell the excess electricity generated by the panels to their regional utility provider. This is part of Japan’s feed-in tariff (FIT) rebate scheme. Kenchi Hizawa said that he always wanted a solar generator system for their house but they could not afford it, so this help from Habitat can maybe help their family get a better life.
The first phase of the Habitat project is supported by construction company Hilti through tools and a financial donation. They will be supporting 13 families in Ofunato by installing solar panels to their roofs. They were chosen based on need, prioritizing those who have family members who have disabilities. The second phase will see the installation of panels in community centers where the income generated from excess power will be used for revitalization ventures for the area. Mr. Hisato Harako, President of Higashinihon Sorana which provided and installed the solar panels said that he is proud to be part of this project, since he personally comes from Iwate. He hopes that this project will bring a positive change to the area.
[ via Trust.org ]