Japanese Embassy switches to solar power

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The Japanese Embassy in South Africa has installed 410 solar panels to the value of R8-million in an effort to reduce its yearly carbon emissions.
It is estimated that around 90 t a year of carbon dioxide would be saved using the solar panels.
Japanese Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa said that the embassy had decided to switch to solar power generation, owing to South Africa’s solar friendly climate and to showcase its commitment in tackling the serious issues of climate change.
The new system is one of the largest solar power generation systems for office use in South Africa, and Ozawa noted that there were a number of other Japanese companies that were interested in contributing to the growth of the solar power industry in South Africa.

The panels, supplied by Sanyo, are able to produce 100 kW/h of electricity, which would cover between 80% and 90% of the Embassy’s power needs. Ozawa said that the Embassy would still be connected to State-utility Eskom’s power grid that would mainly be used at night.

Meanwhile, Ozawa commented that often the issues of economic development took precedence over climate change issues, especially in developing countries, which could lead to “disastrous consequences” in future.
At the Copenhagen conference in December 2009, the Japanese government committed $15-billion, over a three-year period, to assist developing countries with adaptation, mitigation and access to renewable energy.
Under the Copenhagen Accord, South Africa has committed to a 34% deviation below the ‘business as usual’ emission growth trajectory by 2020, but said that it would need financial assistance from developed countries to do so.
Ozawa said that Japan had recently signed a $5-million agreement with Lesotho for the adaptation and mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change. He noted that Japan was prepared to do more in the region, including in South Africa.  Engineering News

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