China is Shining a Light On Solar 

In an unprecedented move, China is drawing attention to the need for innovative business concepts – the country has shut down thousands of factories due to a problem with pollution. Solar just might be the answer.

Shanghai sky view.
China taking measures to shut down thousands of factories in an unprecedented effort to reduce air pollution. Looking at solar as quick solution.

China is a country that has a serious problem with pollution. But this doesn’t mean that people who care aren’t aware of the concern. As a matter of fact, in an effort to address the issue with pollution and to head in a direction which indicates an understanding of the benefits of utilizing solar power, China is closing factories all over the country in an unprecedented move. Tens of thousands will be shutting down – and roughly 40 percent have been closed temporarily. There are laws in regards to emission limits, and a huge amount of factory officials are being charged with breaching emission limits. The numbers are staggering – 80,000 factories failed to follow the appropriate standards for emission limits in the last year alone according to Shutting down factories is just one way that will help in regards to clean energy and solar/renewable energy goals – clearly, many in China are on board with going solar. This isn’t just a matter of shutting down factories and power plants, though – innovative concepts which focus on using solar and renewable energy sources will have to come to light. Shifting the focus to solar will allow companies to stay in business, and shifting to solar will create jobs when jobs are otherwise temporarily being lost due to the factory and plant shutdowns. Solar is, at the very least, an option that China has to re-open factories and plants.  

Those living in China don’t want to look at grey, dark skies every day. They recognize that solar and renewable energy can help them to head in a better direction, thanks to all of the research and innovative concepts coming out of the solar industry. Just browsing through recent solar news-related articles online reveals many interesting new conceptions and ideas coming to light all over the world.  

Solar Goals: China to Limit Harmful Fine Particulate Matter 

China announced just last month (October 2017) at its Communist Party’s congress the plan to limit the concentration of harmful fine particulate matter to 35 micrograms by the year 2035 (in 2016, it was 47 micrograms per cubic meter). This is just one small step but every step in the right direction is a step forward.  

Back in 2013, China began to make efforts to deal with domestic pollution. At that time, 10 different measures were announced that would help to clean the air and reduce emissions from otherwise heavy polluting industries by 30 percent. Again, this is a step forward and a step potentially indicating an understanding that going solar could be beneficial to air quality and emission reduction. Obviously, going solar will help to clean the air and reduce emissions – greenhouse gases reduce air quality. Environmental impacts correlated to solar power – hazardous materials in manufacturing, water use, etc. can vary in regards to the technology. Solar energy does not produce pollution, and pollution is the biggest concern that these power plants and factories are facing. If plants in China convert to using solar power, then they will be able to use solar photovoltaics directly or indirectly use concentrated solar power, amongst other “solar” options. They could end up using concentrated solar power systems, or mirrors and lenses to draw sunlight into a beam, for instance. There are so many options when it comes to solar, which is wonderful because solar energy would allow factories to stay in business while not damaging the environment.  

Surprise Factory and Power Plant Inspections 

In order to meet the country’s goals, China has placed more emphasis on power plant inspections and factory inspections. These inspections are popping up unexpectedly. This is important to ensuring that thousands of companies are not in violation of emissions laws. According to Gary Huang, supply chain consultant, inspectors are going into factories and performing “surprise” inspections. Fines are being instituted and in some cases which are a bit more severe, individuals are being put in jail. The expectation is that enforcing laws with regards to pollution will help China to enjoy cleaner water and numerous ecological benefits. Again, the country is taking steps which indicate it is on board with going solar – at least, solar is the option which will allow factories to stay in business and not be permanently closed.  

Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Communist Party’s Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, told The New York Times, “For those areas that have suffered ecological damage, their leaders and cadres will be held responsible for life. Our people will be able to see stars at night and hear birds chirp.” 

There are concerns, of course, with how this nationwide factory shutdown will impact economic growth. But factories and power plants are going to have to adjust to this environmental enforcement, and hopefully this will lead to them coming up with new, innovative ways to do business. The goal is to stop endangering the air in China. One new way to do business is to utilize solar energy. If options such as solar and renewable energy are used, factories can re-open, and there will still be jobs, so economic concerns will be eliminated to a huge degree.  

Benefits of Going Solar and Adapting to a “Solar” World 

The entire world has to adapt and come up with new ways to do business, and to live. The solar industry points out the numerous benefits of going solar – using solar panels, for instance, can save in terms of energy costs while combatting greenhouse gas emissions and lessening dependence on fossil fuel. Solar power creates no waste and it does not create any emissions. Going solar has low maintenance costs. If factories and plants in China can figure out ways to decrease pollution and if they do so by taking advantage of solar concepts, they will see a decrease in electric bills, protect against energy costs that are constantly rising, and they will be taking advantage of a renewable, free energy source.  

While there might be concerns initially about the economics of shutting down factories and plants temporarily, in the long-run, coming up with solar concepts to limit pollution will bring about financial perks. An article released via Chemistry World mentions that while shutting down factories and plants will certainly allow for the chance for China to clean its water and air, while also improving its energy efficiency, there are concerns that legal boundaries might have been crossed with regards to fervent enforcement.  

As per Chemistry World, The ‘environmental storm’ formally kicked off early this year, after new rules on pollution emission permits were issued last November by the State Council, China’s cabinet. Polluting factories were immediately closed. In the past, environmental authorities only had the ability to fine polluters, and there was a huge interest in protecting corporate tax revenues, so this worked to offset shutdowns. But this time around, those in violation are going to see closures that last anywhere from three months to permanent closures and possible jail time. Obviously, it is important to stay within legal boundaries. But it is also mandatory to clean the air and water in China.  

The solution is solar. Solar will allow these factories and plants to remain in business and limit their gas emissions – moreover, using solar power will assist in combating the problem with pollution. Here is a summary of the palpable perks of factories and plants in China heading in the direction of using solar energy: 

  • Using solar energy will help to reduce haze resulting from air pollution. 
  • Using solar energy will save money. 
  • Using solar energy will create jobs – while thousands are going to lose their jobs with the factory shutdown taking place, if a focus is shifted to solar energy, more jobs will be created. 
  • Going solar will improve energy efficiency.  

It will be interesting to follow the latest in regards to solar news coming out of China to see what steps they will be taking. The country certainly could benefit from going solar, but the goal must be to do so in a way which doesn’t violate any laws. Solar could easily be the solution that the country is looking for – at the very least, solar energy offers an option.



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Carissa lives in Florida with her dachshund and enjoys traveling all over the country. She has been a writer for more than a decade, previously having worked for the Walt Disney Company. Her interests include exploring National Parks, hiking, crafting and cooking.


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