Generating interest in homegrown power

Updated: 2013-06-14 07:36

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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Feeling the way

Li Ting, publicity officer at Tianjin Binhai Electricity Co, a local office of State Grid Corp, China's State-owned power utility, said the company was a little surprised when it received Dong's request.

"Although domestic power generation plants are allowed, there has never been an application before," she said, admitting that a lack of experience in dealing with individual applicants means the company is still feeling its way. So far, it has received just four applications from private individuals.

"The government regulation for setting up household power generators is not specific enough to be carried out. The regulations governing the technology, security and the distribution of surplus power have still to be clarified," Li said.

Research by China Daily shows that a dozen residents across the country have opted for the new method of energy generation, and at least four of them have connected their equipment to the local grid. Perhaps unsurprisingly, four of the applicants have worked in the energy industry.

"Although many industry insiders are accustomed to the new methods, it will take time for the public to become aware of distributed PV power plants," said Ding Jie, an engineer at the China Electricity Power Research Institute.

"An increasing number of people are becoming interested in the issue and I'm concerned the instability of the equipment's capacity to generate power may damage the public power utilities.

"Although some solar panel manufacturers are counting on the new policy to rejuvenate their industry, I have to say the technology itself still has to be improved before it can be introduced into the market safely."

Back in Tianjin, Dong said he understands the concerns expressed, but believes his new generating setup will prove beneficial, both for himself and others. "Although it may seem unprofitable in the short-term, it could prove very beneficial in the long run, especially in terms of saving energy and environmental protection. Fossil-fuel energy will die out one day and human beings have to figure out a new way of producing energy."

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