Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Taiwan Embraces Renewable Energy

Working to overcome the challenges of climate change, a school in Taipei, the first on the island to embrace renewable energy, is now being powered by a new solar panel installed above the playground.

The solar roof panel was inaugurated at the Taipei European School's (TES) Swire European Primary Campus on Nov. 17.

This school is “the very first to actually be involved with a renewable energy project, which is rare and unique for schools,” Allan Weston, the school's chief executive officer, told The China Post.

The pioneering structure, which cost NT$4.5 million and took almost three months to complete, was coordinated and designed by Abakus Solar AG, a technology company founded in Germany and operating in Taiwan since 2006. Abakus Solar AG is one of the world's leading companies in the solar energy market and photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The solar roof was named “PV Frisbee,” owing to the disc-like shape of photovoltaic (PV) modules; it was designed by Taiwanese architect Kao Ying-Chao to match the playground and the dynamic nature of the school.

According to Nicole Schneider, project director at the German Energy Agency, similar projects are being built at schools worldwide. So far, 21 such solar roof projects have been completed at schools in Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of Asia.

“The idea is not only to transfer high quality technology to foreign countries, but also to implement the ideas of renewable energy in the heads of the people, starting from children to adults,” Schneider said. “The educational part in this program is very high. We want children and young people to see how it works.”

He added that part of a school's responsibility is teaching students about protecting the environment.

Using cutting-edge technology, the roof is composed of 32PV 210W modules with an output of 6.72kWp and can generate around 6,230 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 3.95 tons.

Co-financed by the German Energy Agency and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), the solar roof project is part of the German government's “Solar Roofs Program for Foreign Market Development.”


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