Solar Power in North Korea
Queensland Solar & Lighting’s Director, Daniel, recently ventured into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea as us Australian’s know it.
Residential Solar power in Pyongyang, North Korea
Daniel recently completed a five-day trip to North Korea as he was always fascinated in the country and reading about the daily life in North Korea will simply not enough for him, he simply had to see it for himself.
Naturally, one thing that caught Daniel’s eye was the fact that North Korean’s are using solar power quite a bit. They hang these 100 watt solar panels over their balcony and charge small batteries.
“Nearly 10% of the population would now have 100 Watt solar panels facing out of either their window or their balcony!” but as the rules are in North Korea, you are not allowed to go investigating the country on your own, you have to stay in the group and accompanied by North Korean tour guides – Going and knocking on a North Koreans door to ask them ‘how their solar power is running?’ is simply out of the question (if you don’t want to get locked up and sent to 15 years hard labour, that is)
Finally our Tour group was allowed to visit the local Walmart type shopping centre. Please do not imagine Walmart for those of you who have been to America. It is just a shopping centre which has three floors of shops and a food court above on top, but three floors of shopping any thing from a supermarket goods and groceries assortment right through to hardware supplies – it was here where I found the solar panels I’ve been seeing, accompanied with batteries to store the power. And various other bits and pieces that go in the solar power kit, such as fuses, switches, light globes for the systems and extra cabling. The worst part is we were not allowed to take our phones or cameras in to take photos of inside the North Korean shopping mall so I have no photo or video to show you where the North Koreans are buying their home solar power systems from, but I can confirm that they all power a DC system in their apartments.
I asked one of the North Korean tour guides why do so many people have solar panels facing out of their apartments and he said that “Many North Korean people want to save the environment” and that they ‘quite often have black-outs’.
Others have written interesting articles on solar power in North Korea also.
One thing that impressed me was the fact that all their street lights were solar powered. We don’t even have that in Brisbane yet! Even Solar power in North Korea was fascinating.
If you are interested in visiting North Korea, I recommend it. Very safe, and i was one of only 130 odd tourists in the Country at the time.