Jeju farmers replacing tangerine trees with solar panels for stability and profit

Korea’s southern island of Jeju is about to
start a new green project. According to our … it involves installing
solar energy generating facilities on unused farmland. This was once a tangerine orchard on Jeju
Island, but it is now home to a 100-kilowatt solar power unit. That’s because the Jeju Special Self-Governing
Province has launched a scheme to turn tangerine farms into land designated for generating
renewable energy. “This is a kind of ‘sunray pension’ for Jeju
residents, which will hopefully serve as a social security policy for a stable future. And it offers 20 years of guaranteed income.” Under the plan, the solar energy systems are
installed for a minimum of 20 years… and the farmers can make a profit by selling the
electricity. The government estimates the farmers can make
about three dollars and 60 cents per square meter of land, or more than three times what
they make from growing tangerines. Once a farmer has their land registered for
solar power production, the contractors cover all the necessary expenses for construction
and registration of the solar unit — an investment of over 180-thousand U.S. dollars. New solar farms are expected to begin operations
as early as January 2017, and the Jeju government will continue to recruit more farmers every
year. Park Se-young, Arirang News.

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