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LCQ21: Installation of renewable energy power generation facilities on rooftops of village houses
     Following is a question by the Hon Kenneth Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (October 25):


     The Government entered into the post-2018 Scheme of Control Agreements (SCAs) with the two power companies on April 25 this year. Under the SCAs, the Government will introduce the feed-in tariff to encourage the private sector and the community to consider investing in distributed renewable energy to generate power which can be sold to the power companies at a rate higher than the normal electricity tariff rate to cover the cost of their investments in the renewable energy systems and generation. Quite a number of owners of village houses in the New Territories have relayed to me that while they are interested in installing solar power devices on the rooftops of their village houses in response to the Government's policy to develop renewable energy, the complicated technologies as well as laws and regulations involved in the installation of such devices have deterred them from installing the devices. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the number of solar power devices installed at village houses in each of the past five years, together with a breakdown by the type of devices installed;

(2) when owners of village houses are planning to install solar power devices on rooftops, apart from the Guidance Notes for Household-Scale Solar Water Heating Systems at Village Houses issued by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), whether there are other guidelines formulated by the authorities to assist them in determining if such devices are compliant with the requirements under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123) (including whether such devices would be regarded as unauthorised structures) and other legislations;

(3) as the authorities have advised in reply to a question raised by a member of this Council on the Estimates of Expenditure 2017-2018 that the EMSD has commissioned a consultant to conduct a specific study on the potential of installing photovoltaic systems on rooftops and facades of buildings, whether the authorities will concurrently assess (i) the potential of installing similar devices on rooftops of village houses, and (ii) how such potential compares with that of installing those devices on rooftops and facades of buildings; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) whether, apart from introducing the measure of feed-in tariff, the authorities will consider implementing other measures to encourage owners of village houses to install renewable energy systems, such as launching a pilot subsidy scheme for installing solar power generation systems in selected villages and evaluating its effectiveness; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1) We understand that there were nine photovoltaic (PV) systems installed at small or village houses that were connected to the existing grid from January 2012 to June 2017.

(2) New Territories (NT) village houses complying with the stipulated requirements under the Buildings Ordinance (Application to the New Territories) Ordinance (Cap 121) are exempted from certain provisions of the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Cap 123) and its subsidiary regulations (NT exempted houses). Green and amenity facilities, including small size solar energy equipment, which satisfy the requirements in respect of size, weight, etc. could be installed in NT exempted houses without seeking the permission from the Lands Department or the Building Department (BD). These requirements are listed in the pamphlets "Building New Territories Exempted Houses" issued by the Lands Department and "Village Houses without unauthorized building works put your mind at ease!" issued by the BD.

     For NT village houses built in accordance with the provisions under the BO, the owners may appoint an authorised person to prepare and submit plans for the proposed building works of the green facilities to be erected in their NT village houses for the BD's consideration, and should only carry out the proposed building works after obtaining the approval and consent from the BD. The owners may also erect the supporting structures for green facilities according to the minor works items under the Building (Minor Works) Regulation.

     If the building structures are not erected in accordance with the above requirements, they are unauthorised building works (UBW). The BD will take enforcement action against them according to the enforcement policy against UBW.

(3) The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has commissioned a specific study on the potential, barriers and constraints of PV installation on rooftops of different types of buildings (including village house). It will help to usher in a more in-depth discussion on how to promote electricity generation by PV systems.

(4) Since the year of assessment 2008/09, the Government has been providing accelerated tax deduction for environmental protection installations. A deduction under profits tax for 20 per cent of the capital expenditure incurred on the acquisition of eligible environment-friendly installations (including solar power devices installations in village houses) will be provided in each of the five consecutive years starting from the year of purchase.

     Besides, the Government entered into the post-2018 Scheme of Control Agreements (SCAs) with the two power companies in April 2017 and promotion of renewable energy (RE) will be one of the key foci of the SCAs. Among other measures, feed-in tariff (FiT) will be introduced in the next regulatory period to encourage the private sector and the community to consider investing in distributed RE. The power generated could be sold at a rate higher than the normal electricity tariff rate to cover the cost of the investments made by the private sector and the community in the RE systems and their power generation. At the same time, the power companies will also facilitate and improve the distributed RE connection arrangements. We are now discussing with the power companies details of the FiT scheme. Since we hope to launch the FiT scheme as soon as practicable after the new SCAs come into effect and conduct extensive publicity before rolling out the scheme, we have no intention to introduce a pilot programme before the launch of the scheme due to time constraint.
Ends/Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30
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