The Renewable Energy Law of China, which came into effect on January 1, will boost the development of renewable energy in the years to come.
The law stipulates that development and use of renewables such as solar energy are an area of priority for future energy development.
For example, real estate developers are required to take the use of solar energy into consideration when designing and constructing buildings.
The Chinese Ministry of Construction has also listed as one its goals in its energy-efficient program for buildings during the 2000-2010 period the provision of solar panel heaters in at least 20 percent of Chinese homes.
Luo Zhentao, head of solar energy thermal application with the China Association for Renewable Energy in Rural Areas, contends with the promulgation of the measures, which are sure to advance thermal application of solar energy. He added that it is imperative that the central Chinese government gives preferential tax treatment to businesses engaged in converting solar energy into heat.
"Lowering the current 17 percent value-added tax for thermal use of solar energy to six percent will help reduce operating costs for enterprises and encourage them to increase investment in technical upgrading," Luo said. He believes rural areas are key to the use of affordable home solar panel heaters in the future.
China now leads the world in the production and application of solar panel heaters. It has 2,000 businesses engaged in thermal application of solar energy and produces 75 million square meters of solar panel heaters, or 60 percent of the world's total.
75 million square meters of solar energy heaters generate the same amount of energy as 110 million tons of standard coal annually.
It is estimated that the Chinese market demand for solar panel heaters will rise to 300 million square meters by 2020.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2006)