Chiayi City launches solar power system program


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s southern city of Chiayi officially launched a program Thursday to set up solar power systems at 27 schools and offices in the city, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy.

Under the program, solar power systems have been established on the rooftops of 38 school and office buildings, the Chiayi City Government said. The new systems are expected to generate 3.55 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and help reduce carbon emissions by 1,700 tons, it added.

Located on the Tropic of Cancer, Chiayi City has an average 5.7 hours of sunshine per day, making it an ideal place to establish solar power systems as a source of energy, said Chiayi Mayor Twu Shiing-jer at the launch ceremony at Jhih Hang Elementary School.

The school is one of the participants in the program. Solar panels with a combined area of 780 pings (2,578 square meters) have been installed on all rooftops of the buildings at Jhih Hang. From September to November, the system has produced 52,000 kWh of electricity, the school said.

In the first stage, the program has so far seen solar power systems built on the rooftops of 38 buildings, the city government said, adding that it plans to establish solar power systems at 32 other school and office buildings in the future. Solar Power to Be Cheaper than Coal or Nuclear Power in 5 Years A Taiwanese-born Nobel laureate threw his weight behind renewable energy and predicted that solar power will be cheaper than coal or nuclear power within five years.

Nuclear power should have been weeded out a long time ago, but people have yet to figure out a way to store solar power — something that could change in 20 or 30 years when technology allows solar energy to be stored and sold on the international market, Lee Yuan-tseh predicted.

Taiwan needs to cooperate with international society because it is impossible for a small and highly populated country like Taiwan to be self-sufficient in energy, Lee said at a press conference held by National Taiwan University’s Risk Society and Policy Research Center to release a survey on Taiwanese people’s attitudes toward climate change.

Lee, a former president of the International Council for Science, noted that Taiwan produces a lot of solar power panels and LED products each year for export, but seldom uses them domestically.

Taiwan’s carbon dioxide emissions are still too high at 11 tons per capita, and the government has no concrete plans to tackle this problem, Lee said.

If Taiwan hopes to reduce its CO2 emissions, its non-government organizations will have to take the lead in pushing the government to make changes, he added.

The survey released Wednesday shows that 85.1 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to pay higher electricity prices to support renewable energy development, while 68 percent said they support energy and environmental taxes.

Furthermore, 67.9 percent of the respondents saw climate change as a severe problem facing the world, but only 39.1 percent felt that the government has proposed clear climate change policies, according to the survey.