Solutions for a sustainable Asia_photo of group leading a solar energy project in Korea

Friends of the Earth South Korea/KFEM is building a Citizen-owned solar movement. It has supported the establishment of a ‘Solar Cooperative’ on the roof of Samgaksan high school and a further 50 kW on the roof of Hanshin University.  180 million Korean Won (180,000 USD dollars) was raised by the community. The clean electricity generated is used to power these new ‘Solar schools’.  The cooperative educates members, students and visitors about solar energy and plans to expand to generate 500kW by 2017.

In light of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and a series of nuclear energy crises in Korea, many communities realized that they should not just leave their future to the government or power companies.

Citizen-owned solar power is spreading now in Korea and ‘Community Solar Cooperative’ just began to generate solar electricity in the capital city, Seoul.

Jeong-eun Son is in 3rd grade at Samgaksan high school in Seoul. She became a member of the Community Solar Cooperative last year when she heard citizen-owned solar power was to be installed at her school.

“I have learnt the importance of the environment, and saw this as an opportunity to take action” she said. “If solar power increases more and more, we can rely less on nuclear power plants. It’s wonderful to generate and consume electricity from the school’s own solar power.”

Cooperatively owned solar power is an exciting exchange between school and community. Solar cooperatives have influenced policy on solar energy, so that local government can support small solar power initiatives more effectively.