Wed, Aug 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Companies to fund rural solar panel project

By Huang Chien-hao and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

People in an undated photograph install photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of a single-story house in a mountain village.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan EasyCard Corp

Taiwan EasyCard Corp and I-Mei Foods Co yesterday pledged to fund Democratic & Power Self-Generation Group’s ongoing efforts to install solar panels in rural townships that are not connected to Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) grid.

The companies made the promise to support the Tainan Community University-affiliated group at a news conference at the Kishu An Forest of Literature in Taipei.

EasyCard and I-Mei have maintained a cordial relationship, especially when cooperating on public welfare initiatives, EasyCard chairman Kenneth Lin (林向愷) said.

The group’s project to establish power-generation facilities in rural areas is an excellent opportunity to implement the concepts of transitional justice and renewable energy, Lin said.

Using the original location of Fawan Village (筏灣) in Pingtung County as an example, Lin said the village could have been connected to the grid after the access roads were repaired, but the Aboriginal residents chose not to, saying they wanted to maintain their traditional values.

The residents’ decision should be respected and Han people’s values should not be forced upon them, Lin added.

Taipower offered to reconnect the village to the grid, but residents decided that electricity would allow access to television and karaoke machines, which would greatly disturb the peace and quiet of the village, project director Lin Yuan-li (林元笠) said.

Residents agreed to the project only for basic lighting and emergency facilities, including an emergency shelter equipped with batteries that could retain a week’s worth of power, Lin Yuan-li said.

The power would also help provide refrigeration and emergency radio, university professor Wu Jen-pang (吳仁邦) said.

The group in the first half of this year delivered solar panels to the village and to the original site of Kucapungane Village (好茶), which is also in Pingtung County, it said.

The villages were relocated after they were considered too dangerous to return to after Typhoon Morakot struck in 2008.

The group said it plans to deliver solar panels to Dali (大禮) and Datong (大同) villages in Hualien County to help upgrade its power-generation facilities, as well as Matisoban Village (瑞岩) in Nantou County in the second half of the year.

The project that began in 2014 originally planned to deliver power-generation facilities to the 15 families in Datong Village and six families in Dali Village, the university said.

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