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The current situation and planning of solar panel in the East Rift Valley—Industry interviews

Date: 30th October 2020

Venue: Chenya Energy

Interviewee: Hu Shaode, Chairman of Chenya Energy

The integrated plans by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan which promoted by CIRES is to achieve a win-win situation. We hope to conduct monitoring in the solar panel projects that have been established or will be carried out, to obtain scientific data, and to build models. This is to conduct social dialogue and communication with knowledge as a base; and to solve the possible co-opetition among the three goals: solar panels, ecological conservation and agricultural production. Therefore, we contacted Chenya Energy which in charging of building solar panels in the Eastern Taiwan. Aside from understanding the current challenges faced by the industry, we would like to discuss future collaboration on monitoring to obtain scientific data in the aspect of environment and ecology.

Chenya Energy mainly sets up medium and large power stations, and what is most needed is a large surface area of land or water. The ideal situation is that the area is belonged to the government, and it is part of the solar panel installation planning. However, the current method is that the industry managers survey the land for the project by themselves, followed by the property brokers visit the landowners and convince them to install solar panels. They must obtain permission from the local government and get approved with the environmental and social inspection assessment.

The main consideration factor in selecting a case is the risk at its minimal. For example: political risk (obtaining government consent documents), feeder issues (distance and cost of integration into the grid). Taiwan is a country that densely populated with limited land surface area. If the land is only covered with ground-mounted solar panels with no other uses, it is easy to be questioned by the public. Chenya Energy suggested an integrated concept to drive agricultural transformation and local regeneration with energy transformation. A concept that combined with the natural landscape achieves the goal of having economic efficiency without destroying the landscape.

To make this case happen, communication is required with the locals, environmental organizations and government sectors. Therefore, Chenya Energy established an ESG division (environmental sustainability, community participation and corporate governance). Its main responsibility is the video filming and application at Solar Panels Education Center in Changhua Binhai Industrial Zone; promotion of the education center is to eliminate ambiguous information. CIRES team has been collaborating with Chenya Energy by conducting ecological monitoring of solar power plants together. If the team establish an ESG promotion alliance with solar panel business owner, the team can invite them to promote the concept of the center.

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