This BBC News report has got me thinking about the lack of solar power installations once again.
FYI, I live in a large apartment block, >20 stories in sunny central Taiwan , we must get around 300 blue sky days a year here. To date I do not recall EVER having seen any solar installations anywhere in Taiwan except a showpiece right beside Kending’s Taipower operated nuclear reactor. I have seen individual panels on meter equipment but not full installation. Of course I know there are people using them, but the point is the numbers are so low that I haven’t personally seen any yet!
This is kind of crazy when you realise something like 12% of the solar panels/cells worldwide are manufactured in Taiwan. The panels are being exported to Germany and the UK etc where their efficiency in use is surely multiples less than Taiwan. Taiwan is manufacturing GWs of panels a year (loose rule of thumb I use, 1GW = 1 coal power station). Supposedly Germany has more residential solar panels installed than the rest of the world combined!
So here are a few things that would be nice to get some insight on
- The report above claims that the installation can power all their electricity needs in the tower block and even sell energy on a hot day. I’m guessing that the difference is they don’t use air con in the UK.
It also claims that the residents ‘sell the electricity’ and get a ‘cheaper rate’, but of course that they don’t mention who pays for the solar equipment and the fact that all consumers must subsidise these residents for them to get a ‘cheaper rate’ or ‘sell electricity’.
However I’ve read that solar power generation is getting closer to parity with fossil fuels, especially in countries with more sunshine. The Taiwan government shows it’s shortsightedness by importing billions upon billions of USD of oil and coal every year instead of subsidising local manufacturers and installation of solar power instead. I believe it is massive corruption that is causing this, but I’d be happy to proved wrong by somebody more knowledgeable.
Some of the apartment blocks around here, including our own, have washing lines installed where people can dry their clothes, blankets, sheets etc? I think this is a fairly good and low tech and low cost way to use the sun’s energy instead of using electrically powered machines, plus the lack of sunlight surrounding some apartments makes it difficult to dry out these items for residents. Makes sense, but does it make more sense than having solar panels installed on the top?
Does anybody know of solar installations in residential blocks or offices in Taiwan?
Here’s an excerpt from a related article.
pv-magazine.com/news/details … z2ZfQJn3gg
[quote]Another distinguishing feature between the two sides of the straits is domestic demand. While China is often cited as having huge demand potential, Taiwan’s demand has been notably weak. Out of a total installed world photovoltaic capacity of 38 GW, Taiwan plans for less than 70 megawatts in the coming year, and only 3.5 GW by 2020, when total grid capacity should exceed 65 GW. Does this reflect a lack of faith in their own product?
Perhaps, but it also reflects the peculiar politics of the island nation. Despite importing 99 percent of its energy, Taiwan’s government heavily subsidizes energy costs for consumers. Everyone from international environmental groups to power utilities say that Taiwan must raise the price of electricity to more accurately reflect the costs of production accrued by beleaguered Taipower, which has operated in the red for the past five years, and to stimulate energy conservation.
But when President Ma’s administration announced rate hikes to bring the prices more in line with costs, it was met with howls of protests from the opposition party, and the President was forced to rescind most of the increases. Taiwan actually offers an attractive feed-in tariff of about NT$8.00 (about US$.25) per watt, but the government is often seen as dragging its feet on solar power installation.[/quote]
What do people think of the logic here? I personally think it’s a perfect example of why Taiwan has stalled out. It doesn’t seem to be able to adjust local policies due to entrenched interests. If electricity prices were to go up even faster, workers would agitate for salary increases and the government would be more unpopular than it already is. Entrenched big business like refiners and steel and chemical manufacturers are stopping industrial and societal change.
At the same time, the government is losing billions of USD (of taxpayers money) to foreign exporters of fossil fuels and lining Taipower’s pockets, rather than create more jobs and keep more money circulating here in Taiwan AND adopt more environmentally friendly policies.
There’s one more factor, the apathetic attitude of the local population to the environment and global trends.