HIGASHI-MATSUSHIMA, Miyagi Prefecture--On March 11, 2011, the first floor of Hamaichi Elementary School was deluged with water from the tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The damaged school's students relocated elsewhere and have yet to return.
Now, at the request of the city government here, the school will be reborn next month as the “Solar Integration Technical Center,” a vocational school to train students in solar power generation.
It will be the third center of its kind set up by the Ecoshift Technology and Engineering Cooperative, which consists of companies engaged in installing equipment for solar power generation. The other two centers are in Saitama and Osaka prefectures.
As part of its post 3/11 reconstruction plans, Higashi-Matsushima plans to set up an “environmentally friendly future town,” including the construction of mega-solar power generation facilities.
The technical center will meet all of its power needs with wind and solar power generation. In addition to hosting lectures, the center will also hold practical training classes where students will install solar panels on mock roofs set up in the school gymnasium.
The center will also offer classes to citizens free of charge.
“Unless local companies can receive orders for the installment (of solar power equipment), the recovery from the disaster will not be realized here," says Wataru Sekiguchi, representative director of the cooperative. "We want to help the recovery efforts by nurturing skilled people.”
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