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Rooftop solar farms of 99 square meters to pay for themselves in 8 years

三十坪屋頂種電 最快八年回本

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

The Executive Yuan is to implement a program subsidizing residential rooftop solar panels. From 2018 to 2020, the government will provide full subsidies for planning costs and 40 percent of installation costs.


Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin has said the green energy rooftop program will be promoted through three approaches: Firstly starting from households and then expanding the program into the community, toward the goal of creating green energy cities; secondly, beginning with remote rural areas and Aboriginal tribal areas and state-run power plants; and thirdly by encouraging major industrial energy users to install solar panels to supply a certain percentage of their energy needs, and installing solar panels on the rooftops of factories in industrial areas, science and industrial parks and processing zones.


However, “rooftop solar farming” is not suitable for every household. One supplier estimated the likely cost and returns for solar panel installation. Installing solar panels on rooftops with an area of approximately 99 square meters, or 30 ping (where one ping = 3.3 square meters), the cost will be between NT$600,000 and NT$800,000. Wth the current subsidy and the rate Taiwan Power (Taipower) is offering to purchase electricity, it will take about eight to nine years to pay off the initial outlay at the earliest. However, if the rooftop area is half that, it is no longer cost-effective, due to the lower rate of return.


Given that solar panels can be expected to last about 20 years, if the installation pays for itself within nine years, the power generated after this point is net profit. However, the smaller the area, the higher the unit cost. For areas less than 50 square meters, it will cost about NT$75,000 per ping to install a one kW solar panel set, and this will take about 12 years to pay for itself.


In the case of a rooftop with an area of around 66 square meters, at a cost of NT$650,000 to install solar panels, the actual cost with the subsidy taken into account will be more like NT$400,000. If these costs are to be shared by building residents, each household will be liable for a much more affordable NT$50,000. It is recommended that building management committees first consult residents.


According to one energy company representative, government subsidizies for solar panel installation is a good policy, but Taipower must maintain the same rate for purchasing the electricty, without lowering it, to make it possible for people to install solar panels.


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