Overhaul solar panel projects

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Overhaul solar panel projects

An investigative report by the JoongAng Ilbo exposed the grave fallout from the residential solar panel project the Seoul Metropolitan Government had pursued with a heavy tax budget under former mayor Park Won-soon. The government spent 68 billion won ($5.8 million) to promote proliferation of mini solar panels over the past 10 years. Out of 68 suppliers that took part in the city-led project, 14 went bust. Some immediately closed business after pocketing city subsidies. Additional budget had to go out for repair and maintenance for the panels whose producers went out of business.

Renewables like solar power are necessary to address climate change. But reckless pursuit without thorough feasibility studies has been causing too much harm and conflict.

Cutting down trees and destroying forests to make room for solar panels cannot be environmentally friendly. Schemers kicked in to change woodland into barren land. As mountains gave way to solar panel fields, it caused landslides during rainy season.

Upon decisive damages on natural environment, authorities toughened their watch on reckless deforestation, but the damage done to forests cannot be reversed. The Energy Ministry and Forestry Administration argue the campaign had started from the Park Geun-hye government. But the solar panel campaign had significantly picked up under the Moon Jae-in administration.

After serious damage was done to the mountains, authorities instead turned to waters to host solar panels. But problems have been found there too. An environment group exposed solar power fields in reclaimed Saemangeum all covered with bird droppings. The energy ministry argued the facility is only a research site and yet to generate power. It plans to use cleaning robots and ultrasonic devices to remove the bird waste on the facility. The ministry has more or less has admitted to its lack of readiness against flocks of birds.

Lawsuits are ongoing due to damage in mountain villages. Residents complain of threats to their livelihoods from decreases in honeybees and livestock being killed by landslides. All the problems have been caused by the exhibitionist — and half-backed — policy push under the Moon administration. The liberal government is wrecking natural order and environment under the pretext of promoting renewables to blindly achieve its carbon neutrality goal. Exploitation of government subsidy has also become rampant.

If the government pushes such action plans to meet carbon neutrality by 2050, more natural resources and taxes will be wasted. An overall investigation into the solar panel projects is necessary. The government must stop with its incomprehensible reversal of the traditional power supply system, including nuclear reactors, for green campaign before it is too late.
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