China will see a greater development and use of renewable energy in the years to come as the country has adopted policies to encourage greater efforts in this regard.
The Renewable Energy Law of China, which came into effect on January 1 this year, stipulates that development and use of renewables such as solar energy are an area of priority for future energy development.
In accordance with the law, real estate developers are required to take the use of solar energy into consideration in designing and constructing buildings in order to provide application of solar energy with basic conditions.
The Chinese Ministry of Construction lays down a goal in an energy-efficient program for buildings of the 2000-2010 period stating the availability of solar panel heaters in Chinese homes should be between 20 percent and 30 percent.
Luo Zhentao, head of solar energy thermal application with the China Association for Renewable Energy in Rural Areas, contends with the promulgation of the above mentioned measures, which are sure to advance thermal application of solar energy, and it is also imperative for the central Chinese government to give tax preferential treatment to businesses engaged in converting solar energy into heat.
"Lowering the current 17 percent added value tax for thermal use of solar energy to six percent will help reduce operating cost for enterprises and encourage them to increase investment in technical upgrading," said Luo, who believed rural areas of the country would be a key region for the spreading of affordable home solar panel heaters in the future.
China now leads the world by production and application of solar panel heaters. It now has 2,000 businesses engaged in thermal application of solar energy and produced 75 million square meters of solar panel heaters, or 60 percent of the world's total.
With 75 million square meters of solar energy heaters, China is saved from burning 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 the year 2020.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2006)