The Ashikaga experiment is the first in Japan to bring together a variety of both horizontal and vertical axis models for testing and research in full public view. The site not only includes commercial models, but also the institute's hand-made experiments. A total of 18 machines have been installed, with two empty masts for installing windmills on at a later date.
In particular, Ushiyama wants to experiment with his unique WISH -- the Wind and Solar Hybrid turbine, a Savonius vertical axis type with solar panels on the rotor surface. Heat reduces the efficiency of solar panels, but those on the WISH can be air cooled by the turbine's rotation. There is a negative factor, however. Rotating panels may receive less energy from the sun. But Ushiyama believes this problem can be solved.
The energy square's control system monitors the wind and the outputs of all the windmills. Power is fed into a battery bank, which provides electricity for monitoring and night lighting. The site, open to the public, has already received many visitors, not only academics but also wind turbine owners seeking advice. There are several small Japanese islands isolated from the grid and reliant on expensive and unreliable fuel supplies. Also, a fallout of the Kobe earthquake in January is the greater awareness in Japan of the necessity of survival items and services. Independent devices such as wind generators and solar panels should attraction attention for such applications.