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Seoul to promote urban green energy harvesting with subsidies

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 25, 2021, 14:10 Updated : February 25, 2021, 14:10

This image shows a building with a building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) system installed onto its wall. [Courtesy of Seoul City]

SEOUL -- Seoul will subsidize the utilization of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs), a solar panel system that is integrated onto walls of a building from its construction stage, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote urban green energy harvesting.

BIPV exists in many forms including semi-transparent window glasses with built-in solar panels and photovoltaic harvesters designed to be installed onto walls and rooftops. In normal circumstances, it is hard for people to tell if a building has a solar energy harvesting system installed.

Seoul said in a statement on February 25 that it would provide two billion won ($1.8 million) in initial subsidies to support building owners who wish to install BIPV. Up to 80 percent of installment costs will be supported. Subsidies will be clawed back if the owner uninstalls the solar energy system in less than five years. The program will be expanded if demands grow.

Currently, various urban green energy harvesting methods are being demonstrated in South Korea. Urban wind farms and micro hydropower generators built on city creeks are being researched and tested. However, such green energy harvesting methods create large noise or have the potential of disrupting an ecosystem. BIPV is considered the most ideal energy harvesting tool as it does not take up space or make noises.

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