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Solar Power Policy to Alleviate Shortage

Shanghai is pinning big hopes and big investment, especially for residences, on solar power in an effort to alleviate its chronic energy shortage.

Shanghai will invest 100 million yuan (US$12.35 million) through 2007 to develop solar energy, including more rooftop panels and street lamps, an official said yesterday.

Much of the alternative energy budget, which triples the city's research fund in solar technology since 2000, will be used to import key solar equipment and technology from developed countries.

"The city will greatly widen the application of solar-powered production, particularly in residential sectors," Cui Rongqiang, secretary general of Shanghai Solar Energy Society, said yesterday. He addressed the International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference.

Over 160 firms from 19 countries and regions, including Japan and Germany, displayed their solar products at the Shanghai International Convention Center.

An aspect of Shanghai's solar plan is to install solar-panels on 100,000 of the city's total 6 million rooftops.

Solar energy accounts for less than 0.1 percent of the city's power.

Most solar power equipment, including hot water geysers and street lamps, is located in suburban Nanhui, Fengxian and Baoshan districts.

However, Shanghai has an advantageous geographic location in relation to sunlight, even better than Japan, which generates about half of the world's total solar power.

Cui said the city is also considering requiring factories to use some solar power.

Australian scientist Martin Green told Shanghai Daily the city initially should reduce the residential price of solar energy. He said housing prices are already high and most residents cannot afford a huge electricity bill after buying a new house.

He said the shadows of many high-rise buildings make it impossible to use solar energy in some places.

 

(Shanghai Daily October 12, 2005)





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