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Since 1975, Kyocera Corp. has been developing its solar energy business with the business rationale, “To bring the power of the sun to the world.” To achieve that goal, Kyocera established the Sakura Solar Energy Center in August 1984 just outside of Tokyo for the research, development and promotion of solar power generating systems. The center marks its 25th anniversary this year.
At the time of the establishment of the Sakura Solar Energy Center, the use of solar power generating systems was limited to special applications such as unmanned lighthouses, satellites and wireless repeater stations. Not many people were aware of the possibility of solar power as an energy source used in daily life. The concept behind the establishment of the center was to create a comprehensive facility to conduct research into solar power products and to facilitate the understanding of the benefits of solar energy by introducing it to the world.
The facility includes solar power generating systems for real-life examples of housing, agricultural pumps, and village electrification that are typically found in areas without electricity in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Kyocera has focused particular attention on experiments and R&D with these installations.
The center is located close to Narita International Airport in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, and has been receiving various groups from state visitors and important guests to technical staff and engineers from all over the world for training on solar power applications. In the 25 years since it was established, over 50,000 visitors have come to the center to learn about solar power technology.
The technology and experience cultivated at the center is presently being put to work around the world in mainstream grid-connected systems. With the rise in concern for global environmental issues, solar energy first started drawing widespread attention as a clean energy source in the 1990s. Anticipating this trend, in 1991, Kyocera was the first company to provide commercial grid-connected systems in Japan.
The center is also equipped with a 43 kW solar power generating system that was installed in 1984 and continues to provide power for the facility’s indoor and emergency lighting. At a time when few other large-scale solar power generating systems existed, the installation was a unique and unprecedented experimental system.
As part of the company’s corporate social responsibility activities, Kyocera has been actively donating solar power generating systems since 1983 to locations around the world that do not have electricity, including the village of Kankoi, Pakistan; a rural village electrification system in Gansu Province, China; and a solar-powered agricultural pump in Thailand. In recent years, Kyocera has also made donations of solar power generating systems for school facilities in Tanzania, Nepal and Uganda to help contribute to the education of the children who will be the bearers of the future.
Moreover, the solar modules developed at the center are being installed all over the world, including developing countries in Asia and Africa, as part of the Japanese government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) program. Started in 1984, the program’s first project was to supply a solar power installation in Pakistan. Since then, it has also expanded to other countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Mongolia, Malawi and Uganda. In 2007, the first Yen-Loan Project to use solar power generating systems was confirmed to provide Kyocera solar modules in Tunisia.
“The Sakura Solar Energy Center will continue to strive for the enhancement of solar technology in order to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society,” said Junichi Honda, manager of the Sakura Solar Energy Center. “We believe that solar energy can play a large role in helping to solve the world’s energy and environmental issues.”
For more information, visit http://global.kyocera.com.