Songpa-gu, South Korea
Songpa Solar Nanum (Sharing) Power Plant
This initiative presents a creative business and technology model to promote renewable energy - a public solar generation plant development that seeks to integrate issues of environmental sustainability and energy welfare. Its lessons are particularly relevant for energy-poor cities and countries. It offers an alternative to the common practice of energy subsidy. Despite challenges (e.g. high initial cost), the submission outlines how the poor and vulnerable groups (like the elderly and disabled) can and have benefitted from the redistribution of profits: 25% of net profit (or 200 million won) is devoted to people who lack access to energy. This support is comprehensive, ranging from support for energy costs to replacement of household lighting and equipment (e.g. washing machines and refrigerators) to improve energy efficiency. Part of the profit is also ploughed back into plant reinvestment and improvement as well as to support other developing countries (e.g. donation of wind solar integrated generator to Mongolia and Vietnam). The Technical Committee finds this business model and its internal redistributive allocation of resources particularly commendable. Another commendable feature is community involvement. The initiative is driven by local residents’ participation and efforts. From the outset, the community is involved and included in project conceptualization and development. The local residents are not just users but co-producers of energy. The initiative is financed through a combination of city budget, local residents’ donations and environmental/financial investment companies on a BOT public-private partnership model.