Renewable Energy in Hong Kong

The use of renewable energy has been explored and developed in Hong Kong. The Government and tertiary institutes have conducted various studies and completed a number of renewable energy installations to study the feasibility of their application in Hong Kong. The renewable energy identified as having the potential of wide application in Hong Kong are solar energy and wind energy.

(1) Solar Energy:

Hong Kong is abundant with sunlight. Solar energy can be used to produce hot water or directly transform into electrical power. The systems related to solar energy application include solar thermal systems (solar water heating, solar refrigeration) and photovoltaic (PV) system.

Early application of solar energy in Hong Kong is mainly used for water heating. In 1978, a Solar Hot Water Plant was installed in Tsim Sha Tsui to supplement domestic hot water supply in a hotel complex. Apart from using solar energy for heating purpose, solar energy was also utilized by PV systems to generate electrical energy. Since the 1980s solar cells have been employed to generate power for weather stations in remote locations in Hong Kong. In 1983, a PV system was installed in a drug addiction treatment centre on the remote island Hei Ling Chau.

In addition to small and stand-alone applications, PV systems can also be integrated with building envelope, which are known as Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems. In recent years, a number of BIPV systems in both government and private projects have emerged. These projects include installations at the power plant on Lamma Island, EMSD Headquarters at Kai Tak, Science Park, Wanchai Tower and Science Museum, etc.

The project of EMSD Headquarters at Kai Tak was completed in 2005. The total capacity is 350 kW. It comprises a solar array made up of more than 2,300 mono-crystalline silicon PV modules which together has a total area of around 3,180 m2.

Currently the largest solar PV system in Hong Kong was installed at the power plant on Lamma Island in July 2010. This system has a capacity of 550 kilowatts, comprises 5,500 thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules. It is expected to generate 620,000 KWh of electricity annually. This system is not only the largest one in Hong Kong, but also it is the first large scale project applying amorphous silicon thin-film technology.

(2) Wind energy

The first wind/solar hybrid system in Hong Kong was installed at the Shek Kwu Chau Drug Rehabilitation Centre. The first commercial-scale combined PV and wind turbine renewable energy power station at 200kW capacity is under construction on Town Island (complete in 2011).

Since 2000, Hong Kong Observatory began to use wind power as an energy source in some remote automatic weather stations which have been relying on solar power. The sunshine in cloudy day may not be sufficient to keep the operation. Wind turbine generators have been employed to provide an alternative energy source.

The first commercial-scale wind power station was completed in February 2006 on Lamma Island. The rotor diameter is 50m with a rated output power of 800kW.

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Science Park – 198 kW PV
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EMSD Headquarters 350 kW PV System
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Largest Solar Water Heating Installation in Hong Kong - Sheung Shui Slaughter House, with 882 Square Metres of Solar Collectors
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800 kW Wind Turbine of Lamma Wind Power Station
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550 kW Amorphous Silicon PV system of Lamma Island