By Patrick Brogan
China’s massive economy was built on the back of an abundant energy source; coal. China consumes half of the world’s coal production and is the planet’s largest polluter. We have all seen the images of the nation’s largest cities chocked in smog. However, China is moving towards renewable energy with characteristic focus and enthusiasm.
Sungrow is a floating solar panel or photovoltaic energy project in Anhui, a coal-rich province near Shanghai. This is built on the shores of a lake created by a collapsed coal mine. The panels are then pushed out onto the lake’s surface. The water cools the panels and keeps them free of dust.
The Sungrow project consists of 166,000 panels creating 40 megawatts of energy, enough to power a small city or 15,000 homes. The result of this is current agricultural land and wildlife habitats are protected. This has had positive economic benefits for the employees working there, too. They can earn as much as double what they would in the coal mines.
In 2013, 366,000 people died due to pollution-related deaths. No wonder China is moving towards renewables for its future. Last winter saw major restrictions on coal burning, clearing the skyline of smog for many of China’s cities and large towns. The Chinese Government vowed to spend €310 billion on renewable energy sources by 2020.
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