Hong Kong villagers using solar energy to help power their homes – and show its potential as a source of electricity for city

The roof of Fung Chuen-tai’s home in Tai O, a fishing village on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, has been fitted with 25 solar panels. They are wired up to an inverter in the small wooden shack that converts the direct current generated by the panels into alternative current electricity. The set-up also records how much power has been generated.

Next, the electricity is converted to 220 volts and directed to the fuse box, which distributes it to where it’s needed. If no one is at home, and all appliances are turned off, it’s released to the grid.

Since there are no payment guidelines in place to determine how much households should be paid for contributions to the grid, CLP Power gets the electricity for free.

On sunny summer days, Fung’s panels generate half the power used by the household of four – an air conditioner for 10 hours, plus lights and a washing machine, for example. In winter, they provide a third of the power output.

Hong Kong must seize the opportunity to cut fossil fuel use in favour of renewable energy

Olivia To Pui-wai, from conservation group WWF Hong Kong, oversaw the installation at Fung’s home and two other dwellings in the fishing village last September.

The initiative was a pilot project to gauge not only how much electricity could be generated, but also to test out the process a homeowner must undergo to eventually sell excess electricity to CLP, which supplies power to Kowloon and the New Territories.

Hong Kong currently gets 48 per cent of its energy from coal, 27 per cent from natural gas, and the remaining 25 per cent from an unspecified mix of nuclear and renewable energy. (The Electrical and Mechanical Service Department says renewable energy accounts for just 1 per cent.)

We are concerned about the energy future in Hong Kong. It isn’t sustainable now, and we still rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, which is controversial.

WWF’s Olivia To Pui-wai

Within the next three years, the goal is to increase the…

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