First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


One Qingdao district has become a solar town, with residents receiving free and clean electricity for 25 years in exchange for their roof space, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving local air quality.

Jimo district in Qingdao has become the first community in Shandong Province to install a solar power generation system on its underutilized rooftops. With the help of government subsidies, a local solar power company has provided CNY1 million to purchase and install PV panels on 74 residential roofs. Each system is capable of producing 4 kWh a day, twice the average consumption of each property, which means that half the energy produced is sold back to the national electricity grid.


While the company that installed the systems receives the income from electricity sold back to the grid, households are guaranteed free electricity for 25 years in return for use of their roof space. The 108 MWh generated annually through this initiative would require 3,360 tons of coal to produce in a coal-fi red power plant. By replacing this coal generation with renewables, 83 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are avoided annually, and households in Jimo are not only benefiting from reduced energy costs, but also cleaner air.

Jimo district in Qingdao has become the fi rst community in Shandong Province to install a solar power generation system on its underutilized rooftops.
Local residents work to install PV panels, which will deliver cost-free power for 25 years (photo by Hongmin Dong).

The Challenge

The PRC’s reliance on coal for power generation has led to high carbon intensity in the energy system and introduced many health and environmental issues. Through the installation of PV panels on household rooftops, Qingdao is reducing its reliance on coal and improving air quality, while bringing down carbon emissions and energy costs.


Economic  With a PV system installed on their roof, households avoid buying electricity from the national grid, saving roughly CNY4,000 each year.

Environment  Replacing coal-fired power generation, the project is preventing the annual emission of 83 tons of CO2, 2.8 tons of SOX, and 1.4 tons of NOX.

Health  Fewer particulate emissions means cleaner air and less respiratory problems for the people of Jimo district.