Electronics giants Sanyo have installed two 'Solar Parking Lots' in Tokyo that are filled with their new eneloop electric bikes.
The idea is that the machines – 100 will be provided in total – will be "community bicycles" that can be hired by people living in the Setagaya area.
A 46m2 array of HIT solar panels on the roof of each 'parking lot', with an annual output of around 7,135kWh, will be used to store power in lithium-ion batteries.
These will then be used to recharge the bikes and power the facilities' lights. This means the system's effectiveness is not affected by the weather or time of day, unlike other applications of solar power. In addition, the bikes feature a regenerative charging function which means they self-charge when ridden.
Sanyo say: "The Solar Parking Lot is a completely independent and clean system eliminating the use of fossil fuels ... The eneloop bikes will utilise this clean energy efficiently without any waste and enhance the convenience and comfort of people’s lives."