Tsunami-Affected Families Receive Solar Power from Habitat for Humanity Japan

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 that happened in March 2011 left the Hazawas with a damaged home and no livelihood. The newly installed 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.

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