Despite High Support for Solar Energy, Misconceptions Remain; SEMI: 70% of General Public Unaware That Solar Energy Is Non-toxic

published: 2019-10-15 16:33 | editor: | category: News

Energy Taiwan, Taiwan’s annual forum on renewable energy, will take place on the 16th at the Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 1 in Taipei. The three-day event will showcase four major themes: photovoltaics (PV), wind energy, hydrogen fuel cell, and smart storage. SEMI also announced the results from its survey on public support for PV policies, with 80% of the sample population in favor of PV development. The survey also showed a widespread misunderstanding regarding the technology: 70% of the sample population are unaware that solar panels are non-toxic.

As one of the most significant events in the energy industry, Energy Taiwan features 15 seminars and 567 booths from 165 exhibitors. On display are renewable energy technologies, such as PV cells, wind turbines, and fuel cells, with more than 17,000 expected visitors and prospective buyers.

Exhibitors this year include PV manufacturers such as Motech, AU Optronics, TSEC, and Win Win Precision Technology, as well as wind energy companies such as Orsted A/S and wpd Taiwan, in addition to other national representatives from Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands as industry partners. These exhibitors will be indispensable in Taiwan’s efforts to link domestic industries with the offshore wind energy industry.

SEMI announced its recommendations regarding PV public policymaking in a pre-exhibit press conference. The recommendations, researched as a joint effort with the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, show that 78.4% of the general public support an accelerated PV development cycle by the government, and 80% support PV industrial development on idle lands, whereas due to perhaps a lack of promotion and trustworthy information sources, 70.6% are unclear on whether solar energy is non-toxic, and up to 93.3% are unaware of the government’s solar panel recycling programs.

According to Terry Tsao, President of SEMI Taiwan, industry and government alike share a responsibility to reinforce PV technology education and mythbusting to ensure that the general public can be more properly informed vis-à-vis solar energy.

In terms of Taiwan’s solar industry, Tsao says that the policy recommendations made to the government by SEMI’s PV public policy development committee were issued with the expectation to provide the government with concrete industrial insights, as Taiwan focuses on developing its domestic industries as a whole; these insights specifically address PV feed-in tariff calculation and policymaking strategies.

Sam Hong, chairman of Neo Solar Power, adds that the market penetration of ground mounted solar panels is a crucial determinant in Taiwan’s quest to reach 20GW PV capacity by 2025, while land allocation issues and feeder line placement remain the primary challenge in ensuring widespread panel adoption. Hong cites aquavoltaics, agrivoltaics/solar farming, government commitment, and a sense of purpose from stakeholders as accelerants of green energy deployment.

Fig. 1: 70% of Taiwanese population support the government’s energy transformation policy; 80% support development of solar photovoltaics

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