2 August 2023
Greenpeace yesterday urged semiconductor companies to further embrace solar energy, citing a survey that found nearly half of the respondents living near where Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has or plans to establish operations would be willing to lease their roofs for solar panels.
Forty-six percent of respondents in Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Hsinchu city and county said they would be willing to rent out roof space for solar panels, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Project manager Chen Yung-jen (陳詠仁) said, citing a survey conducted by the charity in May.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said that chipmakers should do more to increase the amount of solar energy produced, Chen added.
Twenty-five village leaders from administrative regions around the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) — where some TSMC fabs are based — said that they would be willing to lead an effort to persuade the semiconductor firm to help fund the installation of rooftop solar equipment in the area, he said.
The combined area of rooftops available for solar panels exceeds 900 hectares, about 444 times the size of Taipei Arena, Greenpeace said.
If used, they provide solar panel capacity of up to 900 megawatts, generating about 1,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually, he said.
Chen said that if TSMC fully utilizes this capacity, its renewable energy use could increase to 15 percent of its total, up from the 10.4 percent reported in the chipmaker’s sustainability report last year.
Greenpeace has launched an online petition to ask village leaders across Taiwan to persuade residents to lease their unused rooftops for TSMC’s solar equipment installation, he said.
The petition data would be provided to TSMC for reference, the Greenpeace Web site says.
“The idea is not to single out TSMC, but to urge all semiconductor firms to increase solar energy use. Hopefully, TSMC, as the most well-known company, can act as the industry leader,” Chen said.
Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association executive director Chen Kun-hong (陳坤宏) said that numerous photovoltaic firms have already begun collaborating with local administrative units to develop community rooftop solar projects.
John Yang (楊仲傑), village warden of Tanyang in Taichung, said that residents strongly support Taiwan’s renewable energy development and efforts to provide renewable energy to TSMC.
However, he said that some residents would consider factors such as risk, construction quality and maintenance when deciding whether to allow the installation of solar panels on their rooftops.
Yang also said that if TSMC can hold face-to-face meetings to discuss these matters, it would reassure many Tanyang residents, and would align with TSMC’s social obligations as a major corporation.
TSMC joined the RE100 initiative in 2020, committing to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage by 2050. #