] Demands are rising among apartment residents to set up solar panels in their complexes as the government started to offer more subsidies for the installation costs.
The Seoul Metropolitan City Government said Friday that 3,793 apartment units finished installing solar panels during the first four months of this year, compared with 846 in the same period last year.
“Compared with last year, more people are making inquiries about the incentives for installing solar panels at their apartment units,” a Seoul City government official told The Korea Herald.
The capital has the largest budget set aside to subsidize residential solar system installation compared to other areas.
Starting in October 2016, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy began, preliminarily, to offer apartment resident subsidies worth up to 25 percent of the whole cost needed for installation.
In 2017, the ministry fixed 4 billion won ($3.5 million) of the annual budget and started to provide subsidies for installing solar panels at apartment units. Of the total 4 billion won, 1.7 billion won goes to Seoul City.
The ministry also decided to extend the subsidies to non-apartment residents that wish to set up solar panels at home.
However, the central government’s budget for residential solar power systems this year has reached 40.7 billion won, 1.3 billion won down from the last year’s budget at 42 billion won.
“The ministry is currently running short of the budget as more people ask for subsidies and also as the government moves to expand the current program,“ a ministry official said. ”It is looking for ways to supplement the budget,“ the official added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance revised the budget guidelines for next year to reflect the main policies of Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in. The president’s policies on renewable energies are expected to be high on the agenda, according to the ministry.
By Shim Woo-hyun/The Korea Herald (email@example.com