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KYOCERA Receives Environment Minister’s Award in Japan for Record 6th Consecutive Year

Company's manufacturing plant awarded for energy generation and low carbon emission activities

December 7, 2015
Kyocera Corporation (President: Goro Yamaguchi) announced that the company’s Shiga Yasu manufacturing plant (Shiga Prefecture, Japan) has received the 2015 Environment Minister’s Award for Global Warming Prevention Activity (implementation of countermeasures / dissemination category) in recognition of its environmental protection activities. This is a record sixth consecutive year that Kyocera has been a recipient of the award, and this latest one adds to many other environmental awards the Kyocera Group has received worldwide, most recently including the fifteenth consecutive annual recycling award from the City of San Diego, the Manufacturer's Responsibility Award from the Industrial Environmental Association (U.S.A.), and clean industry's performance level II certification from Mexico's environmental protection agency.

Photo: Yabasekihanto mega-solar power plant (left) and Yoshikawa mega-solar power plant (right) both in Shiga Prefecture, operated by Kyocera TCL Solar LLC. Photo: Yabasekihanto mega-solar power plant (left) and Yoshikawa mega-solar power plant (right) both in Shiga Prefecture, operated by Kyocera TCL Solar LLC.
Yabasekihanto mega-solar power plant (left) and Yoshikawa mega-solar power plant (right) both in Shiga Prefecture, operated by Kyocera TCL Solar LLC.

The Environment Minister’s Award was established in 1998 by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. It is presented every year in December to coincide with Global Warming Prevention Month, and is given to individuals and groups that have shown remarkable achievements in the prevention of climate change. For this year’s award, Kyocera’s Shiga Yasu Plant was nominated by the local township. In addition to its manufacturing of solar cells, which generate renewable energy and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, the plant also was recognized for measures for creation of a recycling-based society, such as the pursuit of higher energy efficiency of plant equipment and machinery, employee initiatives toward global-warming prevention and environmental protection, and offering “Eco-Lessons” at local schools.

Kyocera was founded 56 years ago with a philosophy of “harmonious coexistence” and a commitment to social responsibility and environmental protection. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of Kyocera’s development of clean, renewable energy with solar modules, which began in 1975. The company is working to achieve the Kyocera Environment Vision 2020, which clarifies the goals to be met by 2020 relating to environmental management aimed at sustainable growth while satisfying demands of both ecology and economy. The company believes that fostering mutual understanding and awareness with the community is vital in addressing environmental issues and remains committed to local efforts.


Specific Environmental Programs

1. Generating renewable energy through the production of solar cells
Since August 2010 the company’s Shiga Yasu Plant has produced solar cells, which now generate an estimated 1,503 gigawatt hours (GWh) in total and have already contributed to the reduction of approximately 436,783 tons* of CO2 emissions (as of March of 2015). In addition, it actively promotes the use of clean energy by installing rooftop solar power-generation systems at the plant. Also, Kyocera is deeply involved in the promotion of solar power use in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture. For example, the company supplied solar modules for and operates the Shiga Yabasekihanto mega-solar power plant (Kusatsu City; 8.5MW) and Yasu Yoshikawa mega-solar power plant (Yasu City; 1.8MW) and also supplied solar modules to the Shiga Meat Center (Omihachiman City; 2.0MW).

2. Contribution toward a low-carbon-emission society
In addition to the installation of rooftop solar power-generating systems, other significant energy-saving measures have been undertaken at the plant. Such measures include operational efficiency improvement through “sets control” — optimization of the number of chillers for cooling purposes in the plant and its air compressors — introduction of smaller boilers, and heat insulation improvement of the silicon casting furnace. Recovery and reuse of energy are also achieved by, for example, utilizing waste heat from the solar cell production line and air compressors as a heat source for equipment making hot/pure water. All Shiga Yasu Plant employees take the initiative in detecting and making notes of any energy redundancy or loss in their daily work in the “mottainai (waste) logbook” and the information is used for the benefit of planning and suggesting further improvements. The plant constantly works on global warming prevention and environmental protection by all. As a result of these activities, the plant has achieved annual reductions of approximately 5,659MWh in power consumption, 640,860m3* per year in utility gas consumption, and 4,388 tons of CO2 emissions.

Photo: Solar power generating system on the rooftop of the plant   Photo: Air compressors (left) Sets control panel (right)   Photo: High-efficiency small once-through boiler
Solar power generating system on the rooftop of the plant   Air compressors (left)
Sets control panel (right)
  High-efficiency small once-through boiler

3. Environmental protection
Kyocera also provides local schools with on-site “Eco-Lessons” where trained Kyocera employees help children think about the future of our planet using materials including experimental kits featuring Kyocera’s solar cells. Furthermore, through the International Lake Environment Committee Foundation, Kyocera also offers young engineers who will be responsible for future environmental policies of Asian and African countries the opportunity to learn about the solar cell manufacturing processes, installation cases of solar power generating systems, and waste water treatment processes. Furthermore, the company is actively engaged in locally-based environmental activities such as Yasu City’s initiative to maintain and reestablish natural forests.

Photo: Eco-Lessons at primary school (left) Support for young engineers from Asia and Africa (middle) Participation in Yasu City’s forestation activities (right)
Eco-Lessons at primary school (left)
Support for young engineers from Asia and Africa (middle)
Participation in Yasu City’s forestation activities (right)

Past Environment Minister’s Awards Received by Kyocera
2010 High-output solar module awarded in the technology development / product category
2011 Shiga Gamo & Shiga Yohkaichi Plants awarded in the countermeasures category
2012 Fukushima Tanagura Plant awarded in the countermeasures category
2013 Kagoshima Sendai Plant awarded in the implementation of countermeasures / dissemination category
2014 Kagoshima Kokubu Plant awarded in the implementation of countermeasures / dissemination category

* The amount calculated in accordance with the method stipulated by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment minus the electric power consumed for the production of the solar cells.