Energy experts have devised a cost-effective solar
energy bathing system aimed at introducing China's rural population
to the joys of a regular hot bath.
Statistics show that at least 200 million out of
China's 800 million rural residents only bathe once a month. Tens
of millions were found to bathe only once every quarter or every
six months. Poor hygiene in turn can lead to the spread of
The problem is particularly bad in western Chinese
villages where some farmers and herdsmen may not bathe for a whole
Solar energy is being promoted in China's countryside
as an alternative to inefficient and polluting gas stoves. The
stoves burn low-quality briquette containing sulfur dioxide and
other poisonous elements which can harm health and the
A solar energy bathing scheme set up by the
Shandong-based Huangming Solar Energy Group and the Yijianeng Solar
Energy Company brought the idea of regular bathing to Zhuangke
village in Dezhou city, east China's Shandong Province last winter.
For a fee of one yuan (12.5 US cents) per head and 1.5
yuan (18.75 cents) in winter more than 1,000 people can make use of
a village bathhouse. Over 100 solar energy bathhouses have been
opened in Dezhou.
Solar energy experts say more than 150 million Chinese
people are using solar energy water heaters.
A public fund for China's solar energy development is
managed by the Huangming Group and Yijianeng Company and they've
invested around eight million yuan (about US$1 million) in the
construction of solar energy bathhouses in China's rural
(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2006)