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.
我们在昆明的旅店窗外。这里的太阳能光板都是加热水的,而不是发电的。


Solar-electric energy powers this SOS call box by the side of super-highway GZ65, near Kunming.
在昆明附近的高速公路边,太阳能给紧急电话供电。


Hot-water panel on a Dai family’s bath-house.
在一个傣族的洗澡间房顶上也装了太阳能热水器。


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.
在陇西附近,一个太阳能灶。虽然从照片上看像是个卫星天线,它比卫星天线更亮,而且在焦点附近没有卫星信号的放大器。

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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