TOKYO, July 9, 2012 ? Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), Japan’s top e-commerce company, today announced that on July 17 it will launch a new service called “Rakuten Solar” through which it will sell solar panels for home use.
Rakuten Solar’s greatest advantage is that it offers lower prices by providing integrated services spanning from solar panel sales to installation without the use of intermediaries. Normally a consumer in Japan will need to use an intermediary to purchase solar panels for their home. This includes either requesting an in-home consultation by a sales company or providing personal information on a website that provides solar panel price estimates. Rakuten Solar, however, has partnered with Ecosystem Japan Co., Ltd., which has sold and installed solar panel systems on some 24,000 homes across Japan, to develop a system where it can provide low cost systems and services without compromising in terms of quality.
As a result, consumers can now have a solar panel system installed for their home with a lower upfront investment. In addition to monthly savings on their energy bills, consumers can also make money by re-selling surplus electricity generated by their system, meaning that compared to conventional solar panel systems, consumers will be able to recoup their investment costs much faster.
In addition, the Rakuten Solar website features a tool to help consumers make an informed decision regarding their purchase by automatically providing a list of solar panel products best suited for their home based on the size and shape of the roof as confirmed using satellite imagery gathered for the address provided. The website also provides an estimate tool that calculates applicable national and local government subsidies, the amount of electricity that can be generated and annual electricity bill savings. After their solar panel system is installed, consumers can check the amount of electricity they are generating and using with their computer or mobile device thanks to the power visualization service “Eco Megane” (http://eco-megane.jp/) provided by NTT Smile Energy Co., Ltd.. Rakuten plans on meeting the growing electricity conservation needs of consumers in Japan through these convenient services.
Following the country’s earthquake and tsunami in 2011, interest among consumers toward electricity conservation measures for the home and the use of natural energy is on the rise. As a result, Rakuten has decided to capitalize on its long-standing experience with internet-based services to provide consumers in Japan with access to high quality residential solar panel systems at an affordable price through its new Rakuten Solar service.
Through this service, Rakuten hopes that it can provide an opportunity for households across Japan to rethink the way they source and use their electricity.