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March 19, 2013

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Man makes own power for his flat

DANG Jihu, a local resident who has installed a solar power generating system on top of his apartment building, has been enjoying free power for two months.

Dang's "family power station," comprised of several solar panels, occupies 2 to 3 square meters on the roof of his apartment building in Jiuting Town, Songjiang District.

In the last two months, this quiet station has generated 407 kilowatt hours of power, which has covered most but not all of his needs, he said.

The monthly average power consumption for a resident in the city is 260 kilowatt hours.

His 2,500-watt solar photovoltaic setup cost him 25,000 yuan (US$4,019).

He lives on the first floor of his six-story building.

"The equipment is not complicated. I just spent a day putting it together," Dang told the Oriental Morning Post.

"But it cost me some effort to put it on the roof. I hired a crane truck to lift the equipment to the roof instead of moving it from my window to avoid breaking others' windows," Dang said.

Current policies let a resident install an individual solar power generation system as long as they have the ownership of their residence and the permission of the local neighborhood committee or the property management company.

The property management company told Dang he needed to get the approval of two-thirds of the households in his building.

"There are 12 families in my building and I only needed nine signatures and all the nine neighbors I went to were supportive of my idea," Dang said.

It is also equal to planting 14 trees in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which Dang considers his contribution to the environment.

The city has now six sets of private solar power generating system, including Dang's.

Meanwhile the government adopted a new policy last year to grant individual access to the State electrical grid, enabling people to sell the surplus power to the State grid.

However, detailed provisions for people selling solar power to the State grid have not yet been written in Shanghai.

Although a family solar power generating system is environmentally friendly and saves money for families, the high cost of the equipment may become an obstacle, according to Zhao Chunjiang, director of the solar energy research institute of the Shanghai University of Electric Power.

Zhao, who has a solar power generating system at home, said a family usually needs a 3,000-watt system to cover daily needs, which should cost about 30,000 yuan. It would take 10 years at present power rates for the system to cover its cost.


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