Tamsui in Taipei County and Hualien County have been selected as venues for a "Solar City" project aimed at promoting clean energy, tourism and high-tech development, economics officials said yesterday.
The "Solar City" project is part of the government's "Challenge 2008" national development plan, under which cities or townships with sufficient sunlight will be selected for installation of photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems, the officials explained.
PV systems generate electricity directly from sunlight -- an almost unlimited, clean source of energy, the officials said.
Apart from establishing PV power generation facilities, the officials said the "Solar City" project will also create a new look for the selected locations using aesthetic planning and optical technologies.
Noting that several countries, such as Austria, Germany and Japan, have successfully turned renewable energy installations into tourist attractions or public art installations, the officials said the "Solar City" project will integrate PV power generation facilities with unique local scenery, historical sites and cultural heritage areas to create a new image for selected cities or townships.
The bureau is scheduled to sign a contract with the Taipei and Hualien County governments later this year for the "Solar City" project.
According to energy bureau officials, each of the two county governments will receive a grant of NT$120 million (US$3.6 million) for developing Tamsui and yet-to-be-selected Hualien townships into eco-friendly "solar cities."