Green Energy Roofs project: Solar panels on every rooftop

  • Date: 2017-11-28

I. Background
Sunlight is a renewable, sustainable and clean source of energy that can be harnessed for electricity generation by power stations as well as by residential homes. In July 2016, Taiwan launched a two-year solar power promotion plan to encourage government agencies, state-owned enterprises, factories and ordinary residents to install photovoltaic systems on their premises. Since the rooftop systems proved to be simpler to promote and faster to install than the ground-mounted systems, the Ministry of Economic Affairs again launched a nationwide Green Energy Roofs project in October 2017.

II. Strategies and measures
A. Multiple incentives
Under the Green Energy Roofs project, building owners may, at no cost, have solar panel systems installed on their rooftops while enjoying the benefits of a safer roof structure along with a more aesthetic city landscape. The photovoltaic service provider that installs the system can sell the generated electricity to the grid at a feed-in tariff rate that is guaranteed for 20 years. From this tariff, at least 10 percent will be returned to the building owners, while another 3 percent will go to local governments to support green energy development funds and local infrastructure.

B. Improved regulations
Government agencies will continue reviewing all pertinent regulations on green energy roofs and provide policy improvement suggestions to ensure the rooftop systems are installed in a manner not affecting public safety. The application process and documents required for the installations will also be streamlined.

C. Method of operation
Using private-sector technology and funding to promote nationwide participation in solar energy, local governments will select suitable service providers to install the rooftop photovoltaic systems for building owners. Electricity generated by the solar panels is first consumed by the building occupants, and any surplus is sold wholesale by the service provider to the Taiwan Power Co. for supplying other homes and businesses.

III. Expected benefits
In addition to advancing Taiwan toward its nuclear-free objective by 2025, the project can augment power generation during the noon peak period, improve air quality by reducing particulate pollutants, and beautify rooftop landscapes in participating cities. It is also expected to create NT$120 billion (US$4 billion) in investments and 12,000 jobs over a three-year period.

IV. Conclusion
This project relies as much on cooperation between central and local governments as it does on participation by the wider public. By promoting green energy rooftops, Taiwan will be able to meet its long-term target of increasing installed rooftop solar power capacity to 3 gigawatts by 2020—a full five years ahead of schedule—and realize its vision for energy security, environmental sustainability, and a green economy.