SEJONG, Dec. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – Come next year, citizen-funded solar panels are to be installed on unused spaces within the nation’s water treatment facilities.
The business model in which citizen cooperatives invest in solar power and take home the resulting profits has been implemented in the past, although on a vastly smaller scale; of the 425 solar panel installation programs undertaken by the government since 2005, only four were funded by citizens.
The lopsided ratio appears likely to change going forward, as a statement from the Ministry of Environment on December 20 indicated that the government would make citizen involvement a point of greater emphasis.
Gobbling up 1.4 percent of all energy produced, water treatment plants are massive energy users, with the water purification process accounting for 38 percent of their total energy use.
Located outside heavily populated areas and containing large parcels of land unused and vacant, the Ministry of Environment explained that treatment plants are ideal locations for creating solar power farms.
The standard method of private investment available to citizens is to create a cooperative and pool money. Profits generated are distributed to the coop members in accordance with their initial investment.
Per the Ministry of Environment’s calculations, the 1,087 water treatment plants could support solar power generation of up to 748,692 MWh, enough to power 200,000 households.
Laws and policies are expected to be modified, and various support measures such as guaranteed incentives are being considered by the government to attract private investment.
To start, eight locations will begin the installment of 1.5 MW solar panels in the new year.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)