Kyocera Corporation today announced that it will supply and install its solar power generating systems in the Republic of Tunisia under a yen-loan project by the Japanese government through Itochu Corporation. This will be the first case in which yen loans will be applied to the delivery and installation of photovoltaic power systems. Yen loans are a form of official development assistance (ODA) provided by the Japanese government. They are a mechanism for lending development funds to developing countries at low interest on a long-term basis. Yen loans are designed to help developing countries stand on their own economically as they strive to become self-reliant.
Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) will also be applied to this project for putting Japanese technologies to practical use. Through the project, Japan's solar power generating technologies are expected not only to contribute to the economic development of developing countries, but also to lead to technological assistance that is environmentally friendly.
Starting in April 2008, Kyocera will successively install its solar power generating systems in 500 households in villages that do not currently have electricity in the three Tunisian governorates of Kef, Siliana and Beja. These systems will charge storage batteries using power generated during daylight hours and make the power available for residential lighting and other needs at night. Anticipated benefits include new freedom to engage in nighttime studies and side jobs, improved quality of life, and enhanced growth and development for the villages.
Kyocera embarked on its solar energy business in 1975, and in 1982 became the first company to successfully mass-produce multicrystalline silicon solar cells ? the most widely deployed photovoltaic technology to date. The company has continued to introduce high-quality products to the rapidly expanding markets of Europe, North America and Japan for more than 30 years. At the same time, Kyocera has been supplying solar power generating systems to villages without electricity in Asia and Africa. Such systems have been used in residential homes, schools, medical institutions, water pumping facilities and a wide range of other essential applications.
Recent estimates indicate that about 25% of the global population, totaling approximately 1.6 billion people,* remain without electricity. Many live in areas where geography or other factors make conventional power transmission difficult. Solar cells, which offer a distributed power resource, can offer these regions economic development with environmental preservation. Kyocera is committed to enhancing the quality of life throughout society by developing and supplying solar cells worldwide.