2020-01-20 00:00:00
First batch of solar energy generation systems installed in schools participating in Solar Harvest put into use (with photos)
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     The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, visited Fung Kai Innovative School in Sheung Shui yesterday (January 20) to understand the operation of solar energy generation systems in the first batch of schools participating in Solar Harvest.

     Mr Wong together with the students first listened to a presentation by project engineers and designers about the environmental protection elements and design concepts of the solar energy generation system. They then viewed the solar panels installed at the school rooftop, where the panels form the school's English abbreviation "FKIS". Mr Wong also learnt about the operation of the real-time energy monitoring system. He said he was pleased to learn that students could have a first-hand understanding of renewable energy through Solar Harvest and that the school also planned to integrate the solar energy generation system into teaching to enhance students' environmental awareness and their interest in science.

     Mr Wong said that Solar Harvest has received an enthusiastic response since its launch in March 2019. More than 210 applications have been received from eligible schools and welfare organisations in Hong Kong. At present, three schools have completed installation of solar energy generation systems and started receiving Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payment. It is estimated that the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) will install solar energy generation systems at about 50 schools and welfare organisation premises in this financial year. This batch of systems can generate about 400 000 kWh of electricity each year, which equates to the annual electricity consumption of about 120 households.

     At the site, Mr Wong spoke with students on his experience of how individuals and schools can help mitigate climate change. He also encouraged them to adopt low-carbon lifestyles in respect of clothing, food, living and travel.

     To mitigate climate change, the Government in recent years has been promoting the development of renewable energy in Hong Kong and has taken the lead by earmarking $2 billion to install renewable energy systems at suitable government premises. The Government is also actively developing larger-scale solar energy generation systems at suitable reservoirs and landfills.

     The Government introduced FiT in 2018 to encourage the community to develop distributed renewable energy systems. It has also introduced various facilitation measures, including suitably relaxing the installation restrictions on the rooftops of New Territories Exempted Houses (commonly known as "village houses"). While there were only some 200 private renewable energy systems connected to the power grids over the decade prior to the introduction of FiT, the two power companies have received over 7 000 applications and approved about 6 000 of them from October 2018 to December 2019.

     To implement the initiative to promote the use of renewable energy announced in the Chief Executive's 2018 Policy Address, the EMSD launched Solar Harvest to provide eligible non-government and non-profit-making schools, as well as welfare non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are receiving recurrent subvention from the Social Welfare Department (SWD), with a one-stop service including conducting site visits and technical assessments at their premises, drawing up the designs of the solar energy generation systems, procuring and installing equipment, and conducting system testing. The EMSD also helps the participants to apply to join the FiT Scheme and the revenue can be used for repair and maintenance of the solar energy generation systems. All expenses in relation to solar energy generation system installation and application to join the FiT Scheme will be fully covered by Solar Harvest. 

     The second round of application for Solar Harvest has just been opened and the application deadline is April 17. Interested non-government and non-profit-making schools and welfare NGOs which are receiving recurrent subvention from the SWD can download the application forms from the EMSD's website (re.emsd.gov.hk). For enquiries, please contact the EMSD by telephone at 3155 3977 or by email (solarharvest@emsd.gov.hk).
 
Ends/Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Issued at HKT 17:52
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