Solar Energy in China

Compared with US/Europe, China is using much less energy (per capita). For example, all the super-highways we’ve traveled on are not lit; more lights in buildings are fluorescent than in the US; and in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, most shops by our hotel turn off their lights and shutter their doors by 5pm. And a lot of traffic is still by foot or bicycle.

Of the renewable energy uses, I saw mostly hydro- and solar ones; and between these, solar is the most popular by far. Of the solar energy usages, the most prevalent is hot-water panels. Compared to photo-electric technologies favored in the west, solar-heating is definitely low-tech and low-budget, but it is very mature, and scales well.

View from our hotel room in Kunming. All those panels are for hot water, not electricity.

Solar-electric energy powers this SOS call box by the side of super-highway GZ65, near Kunming.

Hot-water panel on a Dai family’s bath-house.

A solar stove seen from the train near LongXi, GanSu province. Although it’s not easy to tell it apart from a satellite dish from the picture — one distinctive feature is the lack of a LNBF (a blob-looking thingy) near its focus, in real life it has a very distinct silvery shine.

3 thoughts on “Solar Energy in China”

  1. Dad– in the sentence that starts "Although it\’s not easy…", I think that after the word picture, it should be a comma because after the word focus, it\’s also a comma. You can do either that or you could change the comma to hyphens. I think it should be one or the other, not both.

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