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Solar-powered Building Showcase for Shanghai

A building capable of generating its own electricity as well as supplementing the local power supply is under construction in suburban Shanghai's Zizhu Scientific Park.

Li Hongbo, vice director of the Shanghai research center for solar energy, which designed the building, said it was the city's first megawatt solar project.

Hao Guoqiang, a scientist with the center, told China Daily: "We are quite sure the technology - buildings integrated with photovoltaic modules (solar cells) - will be showcased at the World Expo 2010."

Once completed, scheduled for July, the building will become the headquarters for the solar energy research center.

It will have a capacity of 1.1 million kwh, of which it will store 780,000 kwh every year.

The only other megawatt solar power project is in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, Hao said.

"All the roofs are made of photovoltaic modules," Hao said. "And the walls are all south facing."

The modules work as both building materials and sources of power, he said.

Of the building's 26,000 sq m area, the photovoltaic modules cover 10,500 sq m.

The modules can take the form of glass walls, floor tiles, and window blinds, Hao said.

The compound is lit with solar power, while all the surrounding roadside and scenic lighting are powered by solar and wind sources, he said.

Shanghai currently has seven solar energy projects, which generate 200,000 kWh of power every year.

About 90 percent of the photovoltaic modules produced in Shanghai are exported to Europe, the Jiefang Daily reported.

"This is because European countries provide subsidies for developing green resources," Hao said.

At present, the cost of solar power is about 10 times that of traditional energy sources.

"Much depends on State support for the industry," Hao said.

He said China has some favorable green policies, but there has been no specific ruling on solar power. He said he believed regulations will come out by the end of this year.

"When the technology is widely used, the cost will drop considerably," he said.

(China Daily August 30, 2007)

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