Lengthy Application and Installation Process & Insufficient Incentives Hinder Green Roof Installation in Taiwan

published: 2020-06-20 10:30 | editor: | category: News

The Taiwanese government has been accelerating the development of renewable energy in recent years, and is hoping to elevate the installed capacity of solar energy. It has been implementing projects and relevant regulations that would allow small rooftop solar panels of below 20KW to occupy 40-60% of the total rooftop solar power in the future. Despite having a promising outlook, the time issue of the administrative process will still need to be resolved first before further development expansion can take place.

In order to expand on the installed capacity of green rooftops, the Legislative Yuan hosted the “Public Hearing of Review and Revitalization on Solar Green Rooftop Policy” on the morning of June 11, and reviewed on the policy for green rooftops, as well as examined the potential of rooftops from public institutions, colleges, and universities. The hearing also pointed out the problems faced by renewable energy retailing enterprises and electricity generation companies during the application and installation procedure.

Rooftop solar energy contains the highest interval in the feed-in tariff of solar energy. As pointed out by the Bureau of Energy, the feed-in tariff between 2015 and 2020 is $5-6/Kw, with only 10% reduction over the past years, and that a simplified process and standard has also been implemented in order to further accelerate small rooftop solar energy, such as an exemption from applying for miscellaneous license and tenders for installing solar panels on rooftops below 4.5m, balconies, or the ground, where power generation equipment of renewable energy below 2,000KW will be handled by local governments.

Although it is referred to as a simplified process and standard, certain groups have expressed that the application and installation procedure is rather complicated. Bi Wan-ping, Chairwoman of SPE, commented that the process of wholesaling rooftop solar energy to TPC is significantly lengthy, as the entire process must be verified by 58 implementers including units of the government, TPC, Bureau of Energy, and various departments of each county and city that would take more than 200 working days, equaling more than 7 months, with ground solar panels requiring the approval of 88 implementers.

In order to implement “Participation in Green Rooftops”, each city and county will also execute different subsidy standard on green rooftops, where excellent manufacturers are selected by the city and county governments. Chien Wei-hua, CEO of Tellus Climate Energy Solutions, commented that the numerous restrictions, including minimum capital and a specific volume of installation, have resulted in the offset between additional feed-in tariff and rewards, unamortized costs, and manufacturers’ unwillingness in participation.

As the government successively revises the <Electricity Law> and the <Development Act of Renewable Energy>, Taiwan has comprehensively approved the free trading of renewable energy for renewable energy retailing enterprises through direct and indirect supply, though the process in shifting from a type 3 wholesaling and self-generated and used renewable energy facility to a type 1 direct and indirect supply model is relatively prolonged. Bi also commented that the agency cost may be higher than the cost of establishment, which further reduces the incentives of indirect supply.

A direction application of type 1 renewable energy retailing enterprise will take more time than that of type 3, where the obtainment of information and review will take 3 months, whereas the type 3 feed-in tariff option will only take a month, and the application in establishment of electricity retailing enterprise will require 2-3 months. Wu You-qi, founder of green electricity retailer Mr. Watt, expressed that the number of type 1 operators will increase upon the liberalization of the electricity retailing market, and hopes that the process can be simplified to that of type 3, since an application time that takes 1.5 to 2 years is not cost efficient.

(Cover photo source: pixabay)

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