Solar Power Breathes New Life to Dezhou City
    2010-03-28 10:01:31      Web Editor: Xu Leiying

Decorative lighting using solar energy in a park photographed on March 23, 2010 in Dezhou, eastern China's Shandong Province. [Photo: Leiying]

by Xu Leiying

Dezhou is a medium-sized city located in east China's Shandong Province. In the past decade, the city has gradually gained a reputation as a solar city. Besides new water heaters and solar-powered street lamps, the green technology based on clean energy has brought many other benefits to Dezhou.

About 80 percent of the residential buildings in Dezhou are equipped with solar water heaters.

For government officials, this is an indication that their great efforts to make Dezhou a low-carbon city have paid off. For many ordinary residents, it means they can now enjoy a hot bath.

Wang Aibin is a young man from the rural area adjacent to Dezhou. He says that the availability of solar energy lets him take a hot shower at home anytime he wants.

"In the past, we had to take showers in public bathrooms, which was not convenient, so that we went there only once a week or even twice a month. Now, we have our own solar water heater at home. It's more convenient. The price of the solar heating device is not high-about 1,000 yuan. People are able to afford one. Nearly every household has a solar water heater." he said.

Bathing only once a week may sound ridiculous. But in China's rural areas, many farmers and other village residents seldom bathe because of poverty and a lack of facilities such as water heaters and central heating in winter.

Thanks to the introduction of solar energy, people living in both urban and rural areas can enjoy a relaxing, hot bath in the comfort of their homes.

Solar energy is also used in Dezhou to provide power for streetlights.

A young women surnamed Han says these devices lend an air of great charm to her hometown. She said,"In the evening, the solar-powered street lamps are bright, and the decorative lighting using solar energy in our parks is dazzling. Previously, when we mentioned our hometown people only knew Dezhou chicken, a kind of braised chicken cooked in traditional way with special spices. But now they all know that Dezhou is the solar city. I think the change is good."

Dezhou has attracted many visitors from both home and abroad who seek potential business partners and opportunities in the solar energy field.

Andrew Scoular, a New Zealander who works in the solar technology business, is one of them.

"I've been told it's a solar city, so we want to see is there some new technology to take to Mexico." said he.

Scoular's words remind us that besides the conveniences and eco-friendliness of solar energy, the alternative energy source has also breathed new life into the local economy.

About 100 private solar-power enterprises are located in Dezhou. They account for 16 percent of China's solar-powered water heating and have annual revenue of 5 billion yuan.

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