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Solar Power Leads New Energy Marketbr>

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New "green" technology is playing an increasingly important role in people's lives. With the publication of China's green cover paper 2010, energy saving is more of a hot topic than ever before. With solar power an ever more viable option, our reporter Zhang Bo went to find out if it's realizing its full potential - in the water heater industry.

CCTV reporter Zhang Bo said, "Everyone needs to take a wash...... But what kind of water heater do you use for your shower at home?"

They said natural gas and electricity heaters were best.

But the question arises - if each of China's 1.3 billion people took one shower, they would collectively use 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or 1.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas. This equals the total amount of electricity produced by a medium sized power plant in half a year, powered by 600 million tons of coal. Or, the amount of natural gas produced by a high level gas field in one month....

This is the reality of the situation faced by China, in its battle to cut its energy use.

Solar water heaters go some way to solving the problem. Zhang Deping, sales manager of a solar energy company in Beijing, explains.

Zhang Deping, sales manager of Beijing Siji Mocoe Solar Energy Tech., said, "Solar energy is inexhaustible, and is 100% environmentally friendly. A solar energy water heater won't use electricity or gas. You just pay once, and enjoy a lifetime of convenience."

Then why aren't these people using solar water heaters?

They say it's because the price of a solar energy heater is between 5 and 7 times more than the heaters they use now. Some say they're not allowed to install the devices on their roofs, and that they don't work so well in winter.

Ms. Zhang believes the public are generally misinformed about solar heaters, and that they can be used throughout the year.

Some industry professionals highlight logistical problems.

Dai Guangjin, market department of Beijng Siji Micoe Solar Energy Tech., said, "The solar energy industry is relatively new. As soon as one company comes out with a new product, others get on the bandwagon. Some companies aren't really qualified to manufacture the technology. It's a new market and lacks rules and regulations."

According to the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, China will continue to encourage the installation of solar energy equipment in new homes. Driven by government policies, solar heater manufacturers will put ever more focus on the quality and marketing of their products.

CCTV Reporter Zhang Bo said, "However all these measures to promote solar energy count for little, unless they win public favor. The challenge facing is not only convincing customers they can save money on their power bill, but also do their bit... to save the planet.

(CCTV November 29, 2010)