GS Yuasa eyes equipping Ethiopian homes with solar power systems

GS Yuasa Corp. said Wednesday it has landed a 50 million yen order from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to study the feasibility of equipping poor Ethiopian households with a compact solar cell-based power generation and storage system.

The Kyoto-based battery maker will start in November researching the market potential for selling the company's "Akari Solar Light Kit" consisting of a solar panel, a lead storage battery and USB ports for recharging cellphones and light-emitting diode lamps, possibly in 2015.

At present, many households in African farming areas rely on kerosene lamps as their communities do not have access to electricity from power generation plants.

GS Yuasa expects sizable demand for the solar panel-based power supply systems from such households, due to the danger of fire and rising cost of oil to fuel kerosene lamps.

The company, which has been selling solar cell-based power generation and storage systems around Asia and Latin America, said it expects to post several billions of yen in annual sales of the compact power source systems.