When you think of solar powered houses, what is the first thing comes to mind If you thought of a solar panel or photovoltaic module, it's time to rethink green energy. The new Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system produces energy by using special construction materials which function to collect solar power.
Thanks to this new technology, both the Korean government and local firms are working hard to develop energy generation technology together by using renewable energy to replace conventional fossil fuels.
In houses, BIPV can save space and installation costs since it uses the outer walls, roofs and window framing to generate electric power for buildings.
Recently, the number of new buildings equipped with BIPV showed a rapid increase, especially in Europe, where solar power is already common. Korea is no exception. Many institutes and universities have started carrying out research related to BIPV since 2001, when the Korea Institute of Energy Research first started their own BIPV projects.
One of leading Korean firms in BIPV is Solar Tech (Korean, English), which won a grand prize for renewable energy from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in 2010. Established in 2000 by four former LG Industrial Systems engineers, the firm specializes in solar power technology development, including module production and equipment installation. They are also participants in the "Green Home 1 Million Supply Project," in cooperation with Korea Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO).
The "Green Home 1 Million Supply Project" aims to build one million houses that depend on renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal and wind power by 2020. KEMCO supports 50 percent of installation costs for renewable energy equipment in participating buildings.
Solar power technology to be applied to Green Home 1-Million Supply Project
According to a survey of 220 firms in the renewable energy sector, the number of firms in the industry doubled, while exports showed a nearly six-fold increase during the Lee Myung-bak administration. The survey was conducted by Solar&Eenergy and was commissioned by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
To further help the renewable energy industry, the ministry will spend 1.35 trillion won this year as part of the Korean government's commitment in the energy sector.
The ministry will focus the funds on supporting the development of ten core technologies, including thin film solar cells, offshore wind energy and next generation bio fuel, and the development of eight selected core parts, materials and equipment.
Korea aims to become leader in renewable energy sector by 2015
At a meeting with local firms earlier in Feb. this year, Vice Minister for Trade and Energy Park Young June said that the Korean government will spare no effort in supporting local firms' exports in the renewable energy sector in order to transform the country from energy importer to energy exporter.
Government support funds for the renewable energy sector now exceed 1 trillion won, and both the government and the private sector are committed to making Korea a leader in renewable energy.