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COCA-COLA TO FIELD TEST SOLAR VENDING MACHINE

Coca-Cola Japan will begin field testing solar-energy vending machines in August, the company announced Friday.

New solar panels, developed jointly by Coca-Cola Japan and Sanyo Electric, will reduce the power needed to illuminate the machine but will not contribute to the mechanism that cools the drinks, a Coca-Cola spokesman said.The panels, located on the top of the machine, will collect solar energy during the day, which will be stored in two 12-volt batteries used to light up the machine at night, the statement said.

The solar panels will reduce power demands on conventional energy sources by an average of 30 percent, but on sunny days power savings will approach 50 percent, Coca-Cola estimated.

"We are very excited about this new development and believe that solar-powered vending machines could have great potential for the future," said Takeo Miyajima, sales equipment manager for Coca-Cola Japan.

Coca-Cola Co. has its world headquarters in Atlanta.