Green Drinks Tokyo Event Report – April 11, 2013.

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Green Drinks Tokyo Report:

“Let’s Get Our Energy Back!!!”

Interview and overview with

Fujino Denryoku and Energy Meet


Green Drinks Tokyo is our event to meet good ideas. It is held on every 2nd Thursday.

This month, our theme was “Getting Our Energy Back!!!”.
Our guest was Mr. Naoki Yoshioka from Fujino Denryoku and Mr. Ashida Masato from ENERGY MEET. During the event, a workshop was conducted by Mr. Takuji Haruyama on creating a hand made solar panel.

When we say “solar panel”, we often picture the panel on top of a roof. For people who live in flats, it sounds pricey and unrealistic to have one. However, did you know that a 50 watt solar panel can be placed in a veranda? And that 50 watts can produce enough energy for a TV? We don’t need to make all our electronics operating by solar. Taking baby steps is enough.

Fujino Denryoku provides this 50 watt solar panel that is made out of things people can easily reach. They also created solar panel kits for ¥42800 and conduct workshops.

To make the solar panel, you would need a 50 watt solar panel, charge controller, battery, inverter and a cigar-socket.

To make the solar panel, you would need a 50 watt solar panel, charge controller, battery, inverter and a cigar-socket.

The whole point for this project is to make people realize how we do not realize how our stable supply for elenctricity comes from. Most of us were not intersted in the source of electricity until the 311 nuclear accident happend. In order to move on with tragedy, we believe we need to bring back energy into our own hands.

The name “Fujino” comes from Fujino Town (now known as Sagamihara City). The Fujino town was the first to adopt the transition town movement. Fujino Denryoku consists of 6 core members and 50 locals.

Mr. Yoshioka quotes

We are often asked if we are a company or a NPO but we are neither. It is a community activity. We don’t want to be so uptight with systems and organizing so we don’t even have a leader.

A lot of people have their own jobs. Mr. Yoshioka himself is a professional designer.

In an old Japanese myth, there is a story where the Godess of the sun hide into a cave but came out because other Gods were having a party outside. We want our solar panel project to be likewise.
Even though our project begun because of the tragic incident of the 311 earthquake, we do not want to be sad. Instead, we want to tell people how we can make our own electricity and the joy of a simple act as making electricity with your own hands.

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We conducted 40 workshops across Japan and made 21700 watts worth of solar system which is about 10 families with 4 members worth. Making electricity is that is a small quantity creates a feeling of discovery. and that is why we use DIY good to make our solar panel instead of fancy technology.

During the interview he also told us how they are collaborating with the government and with other NPOs. Mr. Yoshioka told us how the next step of this project is the reduce the amount of electricity people use.

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Left – Masato Ashida, Right – Naoki Yoshioka

The other guest for our Green Drinks was Mr. Ashida from ENERGY MEET. ENERGY MEET is a architecture unit where they connect energy, design and society.

They collaborate with local Thai Land university students to experiment solar systems that could float on water. Since Thai Land is a place with a lot of flooding, this floating solar panel is a unique but practical idea for them.

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In Japan, ENERGY MEET is mainly active in Obuse Town located in Nagano prefecture. There with the help and opinions from the locals, ENERGY MEET are trying to create a solar system that could produce energy for the town.

Towards the end of our Green Drinks event, Ms. Fumi Kinoshita from the RH2 Network was the lucky one to be invited to the solar panel making workshop.

During Ms. Fumi making the solar panel, a discussion on energy started among the audiences. There people voiced how impressed they are at the guest speakers activity and on how energy should be produced from companies and also people.

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After the hand make solar panel was complete, a lighting ceremony started. The solar system that was created that day could produce electricity for a computer to work 4 to 6 hours after the sunset.

The panel produces 12 volts (AC). A normal electronic device is a 100 volt DC so we need a inverter. However, we could still experiment with imported radios and other USB goods. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could explore with the solar power we created?

After completing the solar panel making, Ms. Fumi said the whole process was not difficult and that she was reminded of her high school science/ technology class. She hopes to use the finished solar panel at her office.

Stay tuned for the next green drinks tokyo!

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The food catering was by “TORi”. They created solar panel sandwhiches out of bamboo charcoal bread.

[via Greenz.jp]

[Translated by Miki Murata]