SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) Chairman Elon Musk believes that all of China can be powered by solar energy.
Musk was at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong last week. There, he spoke on the subject of solar energy development in China.
“China has an enormous land area, much of which is hardly occupied at all,” said the founder of Tesla. (Source: “China Can ‘Easily’ Support All its Energy Demand Using Homegrown Solar Power, Says Tesla’s Musk in Hong Kong,” South China Morning Post, January 26, 2016.)
He pointed out that although China has a large population, most people live along the coast. Therefore, the giant space inland could be used to put in some solar panels.
“You can easily power all of China with solar [energy],” Musk pronounced. (Source: Ibid.)
China has been the largest market for solar energy. Its installation of solar panels has also been the fastest. In 2013, China added 11.0 megawatts of solar to its power source, more than double the 4.8 megawatts installed in the U.S. In 2014, China added another 10.6 megawatts, beating the U.S. again. (Source: “Solar Markets,” Solar Cell Central, last accessed February 3, 2016.)
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Despite these efforts, China still has a long way to go to solve its pollution problem. In December, Beijing issued its second environmental red alert—the most severe air pollution warning. The alert ordered a pause in work at some factories, along with traffic restrictions. Some schools also canceled classes. (Source: “China Air Pollution: Smog Red Alert Spurs Factory Closures in Beijing,” International Business Times, December 21, 2015.)
Since Musk was speaking in Hong Kong, he also gave some advice on how solar energy could power the city.
Hong Kong does not have much vacant land left, so Musk doesn’t see the massive installation of solar panels in the city. Rather, he suggested that Hong Kong could use some of the solar energy from China.
“You can supply Hong Kong with solar power. It just needs to be coming from a land area that’s not too far away,” notes Musk.
Elon Musk has been a long-time preacher for solar energy adoption. His company Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) makes the “Powerwall” and “Powerpack” battery systems for solar panels. SolarCity—founded by Musk’s cousins—is in the business of installing and financing solar power systems.