TOKYO, February 18, 2013 - Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755) today announced that it has been selected for Fukushima Prefecture’s Fiscal 2012 Reconstruction Initiative to Promote the Spread of Solar Power Generation for Residential Use (Fukushima Pilot Project). The company will establish a project to demonstrate a new business model for promoting the spread of household solar power generation throughout Fukushima Prefecture. *1.
The ambition of the Fukushima Pilot Project, implemented by Fukushima Prefecture in order to make itself a “new frontier for renewable energy,” is to verify the effectiveness of advanced projects with the potential to serve as models for a new wave of solar energy adoption, and to create a framework for the promotion and uptake of solar power.
Rakuten launched the Rakuten Solar service that offers solar power generation system for home use on July 17, 2012. By implementing an efficient supply chain and offering an integrated service, it has been able to provide low-cost, high quality solar power systems.
In the Fukushima Pilot Project, Rakuten will collaborate with Global Engineering Co. Ltd.*3 in verifying the effectiveness of the project to promote the renewable energy by returning profits from its “Demand Response” business, based in the Tokyo metropolitan area, to Fukushima Prefecture. Global Engineering has a strong track record with Demand Response projects. Further, in cooperation with participating corporations and facilities, Rakuten will also seek to build a business model, with savings from more efficient use of electricity and energy to support solar power generation, as well as structuring a new marketing platform to provide sustained support to households by using tools such as Green Power Certification*4. The goal of these actions is to create an eco-system where diverse industries promote self-reliant solar power generation.
In order to boost awareness of the project, Rakuten will create a dedicated webpage on the Rakuten Solar website to provide information to over 80 million Rakuten members, and to serve as an ongoing source of information about the project.
Rakuten is aiming to build 100 systems in Fukushima Prefecture by June 2013.
*1 An open tender project by Fukushima Prefecture. Solar power generation systems installed by the project are eligible for subsidies from the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (up to one-third of their value). In view of its status as a commissioned project, Rakuten/Global Engineering will enter into a consignment agreement with JPEA.
*2 Demand Response aims to reduce peak electricity demand through efforts by users to reduce their power use when the grid is under stress.
*3Global Engineering was selected by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund for its publicly tendered Business Synergy Proposal (March 19, 2012) and is the coordinator of Demand Response business players in the Kanto region. Under the Business Synergy Proposal, it is implementing a plan to widely solicit business plans to contribute to reducing peak electricity demand, especially in the summer, and to sign up customers to earn negawatt incentives by saving power from FY2012 to FY2014.
*4Green Power Certification is a scheme to support the uptake and expansion of renewable energy, by allowing trading of “certificates” that represent the “environmental value” of green electricity generated renewably by means such as solar power, wind power and biomass.