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  China's green, green energy of home  

  

 

In Nanzhaike Village in the eastern suburbs of Jinan, capital of north China's Shandong Province, Zhang Yazhou's house stands out.A national plan, approved on Friday, aims to bring non-fossil fuels up to about 15 percent of energy consumption by 2020, from the 9.8 percent at the end of 2013.

  JINAN, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- In Nanzhaike Village in the eastern suburbs of Jinan, capital of north China's Shandong Province, Zhang Yazhou's house stands out.

  More than half of the courtyard is occupied by dozens of solar panels.It is a mini-PV (photovoltaic) power plant, or "household-distributed PV solar power generating system", a tiny part of China's big push for renewable energy.

  Can green energy tackle climate change? A national plan, approved on Friday, aims to bring non-fossil fuels up to about 15 percent of energy consumption by 2020, from the 9.8 percent at the end of 2013.

  MINI SOLAR POWER PLANT

  Zhang, 61, a retiree from local power company, spent more than 300,000 yuan (50,000 U.S. dollars) on his mini power plant. It can generate 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day, twelve times Zhang's requirement.

  Such plants, scattered around neighborhoods, factories and office buildings, are allowed to sell extra power to local power grids.

  Zhang plans to have the plant connected to the local grid, which will buy his excess supply at an unsubsidized price of 0.45 yuan per kwh, the same price as household electricity.

  Unlike some other regions, Shandong has yet put the household PV system onto the tariff subsidy list, citing their small generating capacity. Once connected, the plant should make at least 200 yuan a day, and Zhang could recoup his investment within four years. The plant can will save 58.4 tonnes of standard coal and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 36.5 tonnes annually.

  By August, Shandong had 132 distributed PV power installations, with a total capacity of over 100 megawatts (MW). It aims to power up the figure to 300 MW by 2015, and to 1.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2020.

  China's first household PV generating facility was installed by a Beijing resident at his home in Dec. 2012. Since then, the installations, both household and industrial, have sprung up all over.

  Targets for new solar power capacity, reinforced with favorable policies -- mainly subsidies and tax breaks -- focus on trying to stimulate uptake.

  In the first half of 2014, 1 GW of new distributed PV capacity brought the country's cumulative capacity to 4.1 GW. Last year, 12.9 GW of new solar power new capacity, a whopping 232 percent year-on-year increase, accounted for around 31 percent of new capacity installed globally. In 2013, China spent 21.1 percent of the global solar industry budget, pouring23.6 billion U.S. dollars into the industry, equivalent to the entire amount for Europe, making China the world's largest solar energy market.

  GREEN ENERGY

  China is now the world leader in both wind and hydro power with fast growth in other renewable sources.

  Xie Zhenhua, China's top official on climate change, said on Friday that new renewable energy capacity installed by China in 2013 accounted for 37 percent of global new capacity, and from 2005 to 2013, China accounted for 24 percent of the world's total.

  As of June this year, China's hydropower capacity stood at around 290 GW, more than double that of 2005. On-grid windpower capacity surpassed 81 GW, more than 60 times of that in 2005.

  Xie said China is cutting greenhouse gas emissions by developing clean energy, energy conservation and improving efficiency.

  Greenhouse gases come mainly from burning traditional fuels, including coal and petroleum, and only green renewable energy can adjust the energy mix.

  Xie believes the biggest issue is optimizing the energy mix, since more than two-thirds of China's energy still comes from coal. There are many difficulties in an aggressive push for clean energy, including ecological problems with hydropower, and power gird upgrades for wind and solar power.

  "We need to actively overcome these difficulties and I am confident that we will make the targets on climate change," Xie said.

  Tackling climate change is not only an international obligation, but essential for development in a country weighed down by resource and environmental constraints.

  "Clean energy not only helps the environment, but may help me to get rich," said Zhang, back in Shandong. "Prospects for clean energy are promising, and the government seems determined."

 

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